Kicking off the first of many EBONY Power 100 Talks, songstress Estelle led a discussion with the cast of Lifetime’s “Mahalia” (debuts April 3). The film highlights the life and legacy of singer Mahalia Jackson, also known as the “Queen of Gospel”. “Mahalia” is directed by Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon and stars Award-winning actors Danielle Brooks, Jason Dirden, and Joaquina Kalukango.
During the candid conversation, Leon shareds he was moved to work on the film after relying on Jackson’s music to help him through the ups and downs of the pandemic. “In my insecurity of what would come next, I left New York and came back to Atlanta,” he says. “Every day I said ‘I don’t know when we are going to come back but let me wake up and listen to Mahalia Jackson for an hour. If I listen to that music every morning, it will give me comfort.’”
With more than 22 million records sold, Jackson’s voice has been a staple in many households and lives. Whether her music is played during Saturday morning cleaning sessions or covered by church choirs on Sundays, she’s touched countless fans. Despite her reach, there isn’t much content about the icon. “You have to go searching… Every woman has different journeys when it comes to womanhood,” says Danielle Brooks, who portrays Jackson in the film. “I wanted us to feel represented, I wanted us to feel seen.”
Check out the conversation below, or on EBONY Facebook platform and YouTube channel.
What's Your Reaction?
Savannah M. Taylor is a native of Springfield, MA, and a graduate of Syracuse University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies with a minor in Communication & Rhetorical Studies. Some of her many passions include storytelling through various mediums and bringing awareness to Black history and culture through the advocacy of the Black diasporic community. These passions led her to start her own initiative called The Silhouette Brand, a platform to provide access to resources, opportunity, and exposure for people across the African diaspora.