On Saturday night, the highly anticipated Betty and Coretta debuted on the Lifetime Movie Network, which was somewhat of a biographical film that highlighted the unique friendship between the widows of Human and Civil Rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Many were thrilled, not only because they would be allowed a glimpse into the lives of these two strong women, but also because of the all-star cast, which included Angela Bassett, Mary J. Blige and Ruby Dee as the film’s narrator. It seemed as if the project would’ve been the perfect way to kick off Black History Month. However, Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X, is urging the public not to be fooled by Lifetime’s inaccurate portrayal of her mother or her friend, reports The Washington Post.
While Shabazz does commend the movie network for their willingness to highlight an era as important as the one depicted in the film, she expresses that the movie was highly fictionalized and the manner in which it portrayed her mother was extremely inaccurate.
“My mother was not a weak, timid, insecure woman as portrayed,” Shabazz said. “She was regal, compassionate, strong, loving, beautiful, resilient and well-educated. That is why the Delta Sigma Theta sororities named academies all across this country after her, so others could be inspired how to turn tragedy into triumph,” says Shabazz.
She went on to say that even the attire that Blige wore during the film while assuming the role of her mother was wrong.
“My mother did not tie a scarf to her face as she was shown wearing in the film.”
Lastly, she expressed that her intentions were not to bash the network or nitpick, but she felt that accuracy should’ve been an important factor to the network when they took on this project.
“If only Lifetime had consulted us, the sisters, maybe this would be more than fiction. I am not pointing my finger solely at them, but it must be our responsibility to ensure history is properly documented,” Shabazz said.
Another questionable point in the film was the highly embellished portrayal of Betty’s death. According to those who were there, she was unable to speak the entire time she was in the hospital.
Although they have yet to speak out, some have speculated that the children of Dr. King will also be unhappy with the portrayal of their parents in the film. Especially the questionable depiction of the controversy that surrounded the FBI tapes that were sent to the Kings just before Dr. King was to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.
What do you think of Ilyasah’s statement?
Photo courtesy of WENN
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise