What’s better than one biopic? Two. And who better to play the Queen of Gospel than the Queen of Neo-soul, herself, Jill Scott?
Days after Lifetime announced Danielle Brooks as Mahalia Jackson in a network biopic, news broke that Scott will also bring Jackson’s story to the big screen in Mahalia!, a new biopic executive produced by Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and her partner Shakim Compere, along with Clark Sisters executive producer Holly Carter.
In a release announcing the news, Latifah said, “This is such an incredibly important story to tell and we’re thrilled to work with Jamie on the project. Shakim and I are also looking forward to reteaming with our Clark Sisters producing partner, Holly Carter, to share Mahalia’s inspiring journey to becoming the Queen of Gospel music.”
Carter added, “I am beyond grateful to be able to partner with Latifah and Shakim again and equally excited that Jamie has joined the team. Much like The Clark Sisters, Mahalia! is another epic story of faith that is driven by powerful and uplifting music. I believe Ms. Scott was a Godsend and will be absolute perfection in the lead role.”
Known as the inspiration behind the “I Have a Dream” speech, Jackson was one of the most instrumental voices and ardent supporters of Martin Luther King Jr., the father of America’s civil rights movement, and a driving force behind John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Jackson also famously performed five times at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall, starting in 1950, and won the first gospel Grammy award in 1961. If that wasn’t enough, Jackson was a mentor to Aretha Franklin, among others, and discovered a 13-year-old Della Reese.
With Jackson’s story being brought to mainstream, people will finally gain a deeper understanding of Jackson’s icon status and her role in the civil rights movement.