For InTouch, multi Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige answered questions that crossed my mind when I first saw the trailer for the upcoming Lifetime original movie, Betty & Coretta. Executive producer MJB, also stars as Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X. The movie is a grand opening for Black History Month.
She plays opposite of Angela Bassett (Coretta Scott King), who portrayed Betty Shabazz in Spike Lee‘s Malcolm X (1992), Tina Turner (1993), Rosa Parks (2002), and Voletta Wallace (2009). The film details the effects on their lives as single mothers after their husbands, both leaders of the civil rights movement, were assassinated. “[The women] were equally as significant in their own right--very strong. Very forceful. They had their own opinions… They were towers of thought and activism”, shares Bassett in an interview.
“Women never get a chance to have their stories told when important men [are] involved”, explained MJB about what drew her to the movie. Many, like Mary J., were not aware the women -- who were married to men on opposite sides of the revolution -- were friends. Despite difference in the paths, they undoubtedly shared the same passion for justice. Both of the men’s lives were abruptly and brutally ended, but their dreams lived. “If Betty [didn't move] forward, Malcolm X would have died and that would have been it”.
Malik Yoba plays Martin Luther King, Jr., and Lindsay Owen Pierre is Malcolm X. Ruby Dee will narrate the story and appear as a witness.
Betty & Coretta premieres Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.