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As we reported earlier, Danielle Brooks, perhaps best known for her role as Taystee in Netflix’s hit series “Orange is the New Black,” is set to portray legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in a new film.

Last weekend, in promotion of the film “Good Morning America” debuted the first look from the television movie, produced by Robin Roberts.

Directed by Kenny Leon (The Wiz Live), the film follows Jackson’s life as a gospel star as well as the role she played in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s inner circle.

In addition to scenes from the film, Brooks also spoke personally about the lasting legacy Jackson left on this earth.

“A lot of people don’t know that there would not be the famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech without Mahalia Jackson. She shouted out, ‘Tell them about the dream!’ Mahalia Jackson was the voice for the people. Her music moved people. It did something. It changed people’s heart. We have to, have to remember Mahalia Jackson.”

The official description for the film from Lifetime reads as follows:

Born in New Orleans, Mahalia began singing at an early age and went on to become one of the most revered gospel figures in U.S. history, melding her music with the civil rights movement.  Her recording of the song “Move on Up a Little Higher” sold millions of copies, skyrocketing her to international fame and gave her the opportunity to perform at diverse settings including in front of a racially integrated audience at the prestigious Carnegie Hall and at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball. An active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson sang at numerous rallies, including the March on Washington in 1963 alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in hopes that her music would encourage and inspire racial equality. 

As we also reported Jackson’s story will be told in another feature film project starring singer Ledisi as Jackson and Columbus Short as Dr. King.

You can watch the trailer for the Lifetime movie, coming Saturday, April 3, in the video below.


Watch her sing “Praise You” below!


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