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Mahalia Jackson biopic

Source: Helmut Reiss/United Archives via Getty Images; Erika Goldring/Getty Im / Getty

Mahalia Jackson is finally getting the mainstream recognition she deserves. R&B artist Ledisi is set to play the iconic gospel singer in a new biopic based on Jackson’s life. The film, Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story, is set to focus on Jackson’s career between 1956 and 1963, her dedication to the close friendship she shared with Martin Luther King Jr., and the part she played in the Civil Rights Movement.

The film is also listed to feature Columbus Short (Scandal, Stomp The Yard), Janet Hubert (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), and Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game, The Walking Dead, The Steve Harvey Show), all as co-stars to help bring Jackson’s work as a singer and activist to life via the big screen.

In a Deadline exclusive, Ledisi talked about the excitement she has about her role as the iconic “Queen of Gospel Music.”

“I am honored to be given a chance to paint the world through Mahalia’s eyes and sing her songs,” she said.

Discussing her co-stars and the film’s crew, Ledisi added, “Watching Columbus Short transform into Dr. Martin Luther King has been inspiring. I am sharing space with so many amazing actors and with Ericka Nicole Malone’s words and being under the direction of the great Denise Dowse’s, I am thrilled to be telling the story of New Orleans Gospel Legend Mahalia Jackson.”

When discussing his role as Martin Luther King Jr. in the project, Short said it was a dream come true.

“I have dreamed of playing this role for many years. It’s truly a great honor to portray a man that has made such an indelible impact on society and to all of ours lives,” he said. Highlighting the film’s scriptwriter just as Ledisi did, Short added, “I am thankful to Ericka for the opportunity and proud to play alongside a wonderful cast.”

In addition to crafting the script, Ericka Nicole Malone served as one of the film’s executive producers. As she shared, working on the film was her way of creating a tribute to Jackson and all the accomplishments she achieved as a woman, a civic leader, and for the gospel music genre.

Remember Me is my personal thank you letter to the Queen of Gospel Mahalia Jackson, honoring her for her amazing legacy in Gospel Music, Civil Rights and her shining example of an extraordinarily, powerful Black woman,” she said.

If you didn’t know, Jackson is also being portrayed by Danielle Brooks in another biopic about her life, which is being produced by Robin Roberts for Lifetime. With two different biopics based on Jackson’s life happening at the same time, it seems like Jackson’s legacy as an icon is being solidified for both old and new fans right before our eyes. Check out the first look at the Brooks-led project, below:

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