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A Few Reasons That You Should Tune-in to Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia Jackson on Lifetime Tonight

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia premieres Saturday, April 3 at 8pm/7c only on Lifetime

You should tune-in to Mahalia Jackson tonight, to become educated on an unsung hero, to see the reason Martin Luther Kings "I have a Dream" speech revered, and because women are mistreated in the music industry where equality is defunct.

During the deafening era of Jim Crow, Blacks were fighting from the pits of their souls, to become certified, to become an equal and not just a disposable culture of melanin people. Civil Rights leaders like Mahalia Jackson thrust themselves into the spotlight to be that voice of reckoning, continuously sounding the muted alarm for change; but it was through her music, that Blacks found change.

Blacks in general, fought hard to be heard, whether that was sitting in a diner defiantly, labeled Whites only. They sang songs of freedom, believing that they could be united, that they could grab a token of human rights, even a small piece of it, to be come equal, and not just another disposable negro.

That’s just one of the features that shows up early in the movie, the fear and ambiguity with American people.

Another strong point is that Mahalia wanted to sing gospel, but the church felt she was too soulful. They ridiculed, shunned and tried to shrink her talents to mediocrity. Mahalia Jackson did not accept that, and she continued to sing spiritual songs as she saw fit. Her talents were so explosive that she could never sing the same song, the same way, twice. Even her pianist, had to adjust to Mahalia’s unpredictable ranges.

During the timeframe where Mahalia Jackson recorded her first single, gaining things like a studio just to practice, became a problem, because Blacks didn’t own studios back then.

There is a scene where Mahalia finds the perfect studio, but the only problem is that she’s Black. Therefore, she can only record during a 2-hour window. We’re talking about a woman, who never sang the same song, twice, given 2 hours to record her music…

Lifetime introduces these things listed above to a broad, audience while telling the story of Mahalia Jackson, who represented herself as a bold and unbreakable woman, who understood her remarkable gift for singing, that it was a much larger calling.

Danielle Brooks plays the astute Mahalia Jackson. Brooks shares the story, and she carries viewers through the revolutionary times like precious cargo. She uses her own vocals to really embody the character of Mahalia Jackson, and she does it spectacularly. If you watched, The Orange is the New Black, then you knew she could carry the entire movie on her back, with the help of her co-stars.


Lifetime's highly anticipated gospel biopic Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia, will premiere Saturday, April 3 at 8:00pm ET/PT. An impressive list of Broadway stars including Tony® nominee Joaquina Kalukango (Slave Play), Jason Dirden (Fences), Olivia Washington (The Butler) and Rob Demery (Lovecraft Country) join the film which is directed by Tony® Award-winner Kenny Leon and stars Tony Award nominee, SAG and Grammy® Award winning actress Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) as the gospel legend and civil rights trailblazer.

Born in New Orleans, Mahalia Jackson 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.

From Rock’n Robin Productions and Lincoln Square Productions, Mahalia is executive produced by Robin Roberts and Linda Berman. Danielle Brooks and Kenny Leon are co-executive producers. Leon directs from a script written by Bettina Gilois and Todd Kreidler.

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