Ledisi To Star In ‘Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story,’ Columbus Short Will Be MLK Jr.

Singer Ledisi portrayed Mahalia Jackson in Ava DuVernay’s Selma in 2014, and she’ll reprise her role as the legendary gospel singer in biopic Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story.
Deadline announced the casting Wednesday, adding that Columbus Short will play Martin Luther King Jr. King and Jackson had a close friendship, with Jackson often acting as a spiritual adviser of sorts for the civil rights leader. Janet Hubert will make one of her biggest returns to the acting limelight in this film as well, being cast along with Wendy Raquel Robinson. Denise Dowd will direct from a script by Ericka Nicole Malone. Nicole Malone will also executive produce with Phillip Robinson. Vince Allen accompanies as producer.
The film will take place between 1956 and 1963, during King and Jackson’s shared friendship and fight for civil rights. The film will focus on Jackson’s contributions to the movement, including how she encouraged King to say his now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech. As Deadline reports, “She often accompanied King to perform at rallies and events and became the silent voice behind the great activist and civic leader.” Ledisi is also expected to sing in the film, just as she did in Selma, bringing Jackson’s voice back to life.
Ledisi talked about playing Jackson in a statement, saying, “I am honored to be given a chance to paint the world through Mahalia’s eyes and sing her songs.”
“Watching Columbus Short transform into Dr. Martin Luther King has been inspiring,” she continued. “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 I am trhilled to be telling the story of New Orleans Gospel Legend Mahalia Jackson.”
Short also released a statement about playing King, saying, “I have dreamed of playing this role for so many years. It’s truly a great honor to portray a aman that has made such an indelible impact on society and to all of our lives. I am thankful to Ericka for the opportunity and proud to play alongside a wonderful cast.”
Nicole Malone called the film “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.”
This is not the only Jackson project coming this year; Lifetime is set to creating The Mahalia Jackson Story starring Danielle Brooks and directed by Kenny Leon. The project is part of Lifetime’s Robin Roberts Presents series of films.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 05: Ledisi performs during the 25th Essence Music Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 05, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)

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