Saturday, April 3 will see the debut of the feature-length biopic Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia on Lifetime at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST. The movie of legend Mahalia Jackson stars GRAMMY® and SAG award winner Danielle Brooks as the gospel legend and civil rights trailblazer. The film was directed by Tony® Award winner Kenny Leon and written by Bettina Gilois & Todd Kreidler. The movie also stars Tony® nominee Joaquina Kalukango (Slave Play), Jason Dirden (Fences), Olivia Washington (The Butler) and Rob Demery (Lovecraft Country). In coordination with the Lifetime exhibition; ABKCO Records is releasing a 20-track soundtrack album on all digital services on Friday, April 2, one day in advance of the film’s premiere.

View Mahalia trailer: https://bit.ly/3sIYIvF

From Rock’n Robin Productions and Lincoln Square Productions, Mahalia is executively 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.

Danielle Brooks, who shines in the role of Mahalia in the Lifetime original film, is a Julliard graduate who won a Grammy in 2017 in the Best Musical Theater Album category for her role as a principal soloist in The Color Purple. She rose to national prominence as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson in the hit TV series Orange Is the New Black and has had parts in numerous films, TV productions and stage plays.

Of her title role as Mahalia, she commented, “Mahalia Jackson moved the masses with her sound. Her voice somehow encompassed the fullness of the black experience. It represented where we wanted to go, how we wanted to be seen. While recording her music I definitely felt a high level of responsibility to fulfill all that she was through spirit, sound, and feeling. I’m grateful for the opportunity to remind this generation of her legacy and all the goodness she left the world with.”

The Mahalia soundtrack was produced by Matthew Head at Atlanta’s 800 East Studios; Head also wrote the film’s score that is featured on the soundtrack album. His contemporary production and Brooks’ talent showcase the material for a new audience. Head has created numerous Grammy-nominated as well as Emmy, NAACP Image, and Peabody Award-winning soundtracks working out of the Marietta, Georgia home in which he grew up.  He worked on two seasons of OWN’s Greenleaf, BET’s Boomerang, as well as The Family Business, P-Valley, and, most recently PBS/WETA’s, celebrated The Black Church: The is Our Story, This is Our Song. He has more than 75 credits as a film composer, music producer, and arranger. He says of his film and TV work, “I am interested in using music to elevate and enhance the project instead of competing or overshadowing.” Jazmin Crumley, whose voice is heard through the radio by a childhood Mahalia, is also featured on the album performing “Hello Heartbreak.”

Listen to Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Music From The Motion Picture)

In the film, Dirden stars as Russell Roberts, the dashing, music-loving Reverend who falls for Mahalia when they first meet in the late 1940s while Kalukango takes on the role of Mildred, Mahalia’s talented and opinionated, long-time pianist. Washington portrays Estelle, a piano teacher Mahalia meets at church who goes on to become her life-long friend, and Demery stars as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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 in diverse settings including in front of a racially integrated audience at 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 Martin Luther King, Jr., in hopes that her music would encourage and inspire racial equality.  Mahalia’s friendship with Dr. King and her callout at the 1963 March is said to have inspired Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”.

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Music From The Motion Picture) tracklisting

  1. Worthy Of Your Gifts – Matthew Head
  2. Hello Heartbreak – Jazmin Crumley
  3. My God Is Real (Yes God Is Real) – Danielle Brooks
  4. Elijah Rock – Danielle Brooks
  5. Estelle’s Childhood – Matthew Head
  6. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child – Danielle Brooks
  7. Hallelujah, Praise God (Mildred’s Piano Audition) – Matthew Head
  8. Come On Children, Let’s Sing – Danielle Brooks
  9. Move On Up A Little Higher – Danielle Brooks
  10. How I Got Over – Danielle Brooks
  11. Mildred Soaks Her Hands – Matthew Head
  12. Sweetened Water Song – Matthew Head
  13. His Eye Is On The Sparrow – Danielle Brooks
  14. Studs and Mahalia discuss Bus Boycott – Matthew Head
  15. Discussion of Faith – Matthew Head
  16. Didn’t It Rain – Danielle Brooks
  17. I’ve Been Buked – Danielle Brooks
  18. Mildred Storms Out – Matthew Head
  19. Take My Hand, Precious Lord – Danielle Brooks
  20. I’m Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song – Danielle Brooks

About Abkco

ABKCO Music & Records, Inc., is one of the world’s leading independent entertainment companies. It is home to iconic music catalogs that include compositions and recordings by Sam Cooke, The Rolling Stones, Bobby Womack, Eric Burdon, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Marianne Faithfull, The Kinks as well as the Cameo-Parkway masters by such artists as Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Clint Eastwood, The Dovells,? & The Mysterians, The Orlons, Dee Dee Sharp, Charlie Gracie, Bob Seger, and The Tymes. Releases on ABKCO’s SAR Records include albums by L.C. Cooke, The Soul Stirrers, Billy Preston, Johnnie Taylor, The Valentinos and more. ABKCO is active on many fronts, including the release of critically lauded soundtracks, compilations, reissues from its catalog, film, commercial placement of its master recordings, and music publishing properties in all media. One Night In Miami…, ABKCO’s latest theatrical production, received a nomination for the 2017 Olivier® Award for Best New Play is now a Major Motion Picture directed by Oscar® winner Regina King. ABKCO’s latest TV production is The Durrells in Corfu, based on Gerald Durrell’s book The Corfu Trilogy and ABKCO’s latest release is One Night In Miami… (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at The Hollywood Times, a showbiz/promotions aggregate mainly for insiders. She has written for Communications Daily in DC, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International in NYC. Valerie works closely with GLSEN, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign (Fed Club Council Member), LAMBDA Legal, NCLR, and Outfest. She is also a member of the LA Press Club. She is a lay minister and parishioner of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hollywood. Milano loves meeting people and does so in her getaway home in Palm Springs as a member of the Palm Springs Museum, Palm Springs Center and DAP Health (Partners for Life member). For years Valerie Milano had volunteered as a board member and one of the chief organizers for the Television Critics Association’s press tours. The tours take place twice a year in Beverly Hills/Pasadena.