Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia

7.41 h 46 min20217+
Starring Danielle Brooks. Produced by Robin Roberts, this biopic tells the story of gospel legend and civil rights trailblazer Mahalia Jackson.
Mahalia Productions LTD
Amira AndersonMax BoatengCassandra Bolinski
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Danielle BrooksWolsey BrooksJason BurkartIvy CharlesNeil CharlesworthTom CryanRob Demery
Kenny LeonMoshe BardachLinda BermanCharles CooperAllen LewisRobin Roberts
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4.7 out of 5 stars

4436 global ratings

  1. 82% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

HE WHO FUNKS BEHIND THE ROWS!!Reviewed in the United States on April 28, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Cliff Notes Version Mahalia Jackson's Miraculous Journey
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Now, I'm Not Saying This Lifetime Movie About
The Late Great Mahalia Jackson Was, By Any Means, Terrible.
But, For Those Of Us Who Have Been Around For Awhile,
Who Have Studied Intensively & Know The Full Scope Of Mahalia Jackson's Story,
As Well As Understand Her Cultural Significance In The Context Of The Times
In Which She Lived...This Movie Is Thin & Hollow.
I'm just being honest and completely objective here.
It left out A LOT OF STUFF! Story, Achievements, Her Social Interactions, etc.
Her movie career, spanning 1957 to the early 70's....
The fact that she quietly spent her own money to support
the civil rights struggle and was instrumental in bringing Dr. King & others to Chicago in 1966,
to combat racism in the north as well as in the south.
That TELL 'EM 'BOUT THE DREAM moment was treated like a mundane
sound bite, compared to the real meat of what brought that moment into being.
Also, there was her pioneering TV appearances, and the fact that she had sincere
white allies & friends in respected entertainers and other pivotal movers and shakers of
the 1940's, 50's and 60's, like Dinah Shore, Mayor Daley of Chicago,
President Kennedy, President FDR, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt,
composer Leonard Bernstein, and many others, who loved her talent,
opened doors for her, as well as put their own careers & reputations on the line
to make sure Mahalia was treated with respect, dignity,
and was able to get the large fees that her talent deserved.
Dinah Shore threatened to pull her presence and her show when southern sponsors
complained about having Mahalia on her show and for embracing her with warmth.
Frank Sinatra pulled some behind-the-scenes string too.
So did fellow black artists with clout of that era, like Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte,
Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., & Lena Horne.
When Mahalia Jackson died in early 1972, her estate, (music, film, apartment buildings &
other real estate ventures, etc.) was worth an estimated $4 to $8 million dollars...IN 1972 DOLLARS!
That is an astonishing feat for any black artist of that time...male or female.
Okay, I say all of that to say this....
This film serves as a portal / conduit for younger generations to DIG DEEPER now into
Mahalia Jackson's legacy, and the true essence of her singing & her profound message.
She did not sing out of vanity & pride, like a lot of singers do today.
Mahalia Jackson was a true & pure servant of the ALMIGHTY GOD!
Her voice, her life, was a living testimony to her GOD, and her music was a gift of deepest
communication and anointing! There is / was so much more to her than just a great singer,
who turned down huge monetary offers to sing blues & jazz for the then fledgling gospel genre.
The fIlm didn't even tell that part of her story....
The importantly fated & symbiotic relationship between her
and the legendary Thomas A. Dorsey (Father Of Gospel Music).
Mahalia demonstrated his new-style gospel songs for 10 years, ( from 1937 to 1947),
on great depression-era street corners and in churches all over Chicago and other big cities in America.
Sometimes, they were paid in food or in whatever coins people could afford.
That expression of spirituals and hymnals was controversial in those days...
being considered too bouncy, rhythmic, and using chords affiliated wiith blues and jazz.
This is what caused not only Mahalia, but Dr. Dorsey, and other early gospel
pioneers like Lucie E. Campbell, Sallye Martin, Madame Willa Mae Ford Smith,
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Clara Ward & Her Singers, Roberta Martin, Marion Williams
& on & on, to be kicked out of black churches and reviled for being too worldly & jazzy!
Y'all, this story....Mahalia's story as well as Gospel's story,

Danielle Brooks did her best, she is a good singer, and I sincerely believe
that she tried to embody the spirit of Mahalia Jackson and honor her.
But young people need to HEAR MAHALIA! **The Real Deal!**
Please listen to the vast wealth of material that Mahalia created from 1937 to 1969.
Then, you will hear and feel the TRUE MAGIC that was Mahalia Jackson.
The definitive biography (book-wise) on Mahalia Jackson is her friend & biographer,
Lorraine Gorreau's 1975 bio, "JUST MAHALIA BABY!"...Please check it out.
Two video documentaries, "Mahalia Jackson: The Power & The Glory" and
1974's "Mahalia Jackson: Give GOD The Glory" are both excellent reference tools.
Did y'all know that Mahalia also had a very successful cookbook back in the 60's,
called "Mahalia Jackson Cooks Soul"??? You can find it on in limited release.
She also briefly tried her hand at owning a chain of restuarants
(see Mahalia Jackson's GLORY FRIED CHICKEN),
and a line of canned foods sold in grocery stores, in the late 60's,
but things didn't pan out.

All-n-All, though the film was kind of shallow & missing a lot of key things,
even in the subject matter it attempted to share, I still give both
Robin Roberts & Damielle Brooks their props for making a
sincere offering to bring this iconic black woman's incredible story to life.
It will surely spark interest and dialogue amongst a new generation, who didn't even
know that she existed. For that, we can all be grateful.
The fact that the world still talks about her and can still feel the anointing
in her pure & simple, from-the-heart, gospel music, all these years after her death,
is a true testimony to her uniqueness and cultural signifigance.
31 people found this helpful
Mountain LifeReviewed in the United States on May 6, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best Movie I've Seen All Year
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What an inspiring film, and I'm so proud of Robin Roberts for producing the great Mahalia Jackson's story! I grew up listening to Mahalia Jackson every morning on the radio before I went to school, and my mother would use her faith-filled words to pray with us and claim God's best during that day. Mahalia Jackson was an American treasure, and the actress Danielle Brooks is utterly stunning in the role. Her acting chops are magnificent, and who knew she can sing as well as one of gospel's finest vocalists EVER? I was completely blown away by Danielle Brooks' performance, and this film touched my heart on every level. Quite simply, this is the best movie I've seen all year, and I hope Danielle Brooks wins awards for her performance.
3 people found this helpful
JaneReviewed in the United States on November 1, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Great Acting, Horrible Script
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I was really hoping to be wowed by this especially with the amazing roster of actors. I'm also super-familiar with Mahalia Jackson since her music was a major part of my childhood and household growing up. I found the storytelling to be choppy and a tad cheap, and there were weird transitions in the plot. The ending was also atrocious since it just leaves you hanging as a viewer---especially if you know nothing about Mahalia Jackson. There's no follow-up to how her life ended and no real closing insights on her impact on society, education, philanthropy, or music. The ending gives you the sense that maybe the producers ran out of money or time, and I can now see why there was such contention over the release of this film. There was another in the works with a different cast, and I'm curious to see how that turns out. I wasted my money renting this.
michelle jonesReviewed in the United States on November 6, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
A good movie that could have been great
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I never knew the amazing miles stones and obstacles in her life. The men she loved 🥰 the child she never biologically had so she adopted. Her drinking and massive need to always be on stage performing. I dislike it because they never indulged 100% into those topics. It was just something about the way they combined all those things into a movie. Me personally I believe Mahalia Jackson life story could have been a mini series. I did like and appreciate the young lady who did her best with what they gave her and her they directed and produced this movie. She looks sooo much like Mahalia and I knew her when she was a student at Juilliard. So big ups to her because she is doing amazing things 💪🏾🙏🏾✊🏾🤎
MadamMackReviewed in the United States on June 26, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Trouble of the World.
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I find it hard to believe Trouble of the World was not included in the movie. It's a signature song by Mahalia. I grew up listening to Mahalia and that was one of my favorites by her. Another thing that I did not care for was Mahalia's hair styles. I believe Mahalia wore her hair naturally styled. Atop her head . . .not a bunch of wigs. She had a beautiful head of hair. I do give props to Danielle Brooks for her performance (why the hell is she not listed FIRST on credits!) She would have knocked Trouble of the World out of the park. WTF, Robin!!!! I do hope she was not that mean toward Mildred, but I also know from experience that 'Saved and Christian and Religious' beings can be mean and find it to be righteous. I want to hear Danielle Brooks Trouble of the World.
HopeReviewed in the United States on November 5, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Love Mahalia Jackson
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When I was growing up as part of a poor white family in MS, my mom managed to get albums of Mahalia Jackson and the Mighty Clouds of Joy. Although I didn't realize it as a young girl and, later, as a rebellious teen, those songs touched my heart and soul and helped pull me through a very hard childhood.

I was very excited to find Mahalia's story. Her determination was a testament to her very strong resolve in knowing who she was, where she was going, and how she wanted to get there.

Thank you for helping shape my life, Mahalia, and for being one of the catalysts that sparked the great love I have for God today and forever. The power and sincerity in your voice helped me survive.
Matthew M.Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Mixed emotions
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First let me say I believe Daniel brooks did a great job in the role of mahalia jackson. Her portrayal was definitely spot on! However I believe the movie it's self, the directing and storyline was trash. It doesn't have the biopic feel to it. You can tell it was put together without all the facts leaving an incomplete story!!
2 people found this helpful
JackyReviewed in the United States on January 4, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Love all things Mahalia!
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having enjoyed her all of my life and being a huge fan, I was so thrilled to get to see the story of her life and the development of her musical career. I laugh at younger people when I comment that they don’t really know music they probably don’t even know who Mahalia Jackson is and they mouth off to me and say of course I do that’s Michael Jackson’s mother! Just shaking my head! I was surprised that they did not play “in the upper room” because that is my favorite of hers. Anyway still a great movie and what a treasure to get to see! Thank you!
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