Shadow and Act has learned that Tony nominee and Grammy winner Danielle Brooks is set to star as gospel icon Mahalia Jackson in an upcoming biopic at Lifetime, set under the Robin Roberts Presents banner. Kenny Leon will be the director.

The official description: 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.  

“Having had the privilege of working with Kenny on Steel Magnolias and Robin Roberts on Stolen by my Mother, I am ecstatic to have them join forces to work together on this special project,” said Tanya Lopez, the EVP of Movies, Limited Series & Original Movie Acquisitions at  Lifetime and LMN. “Adding Danielle Brooks as Mahalia is icing on the cake. This team is committed in celebrating the legacy of Mahalia and reintroducing her to a world that needs her spirit more than ever.”

Rock’n Robin Productions and Lincoln Square Productions are producing the project. The Mahalia Jackson Story is executive produced by Robin Roberts and Linda Berman.



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