“Betty and Coretta" follows the wives and lives of two of Black America’s most respected leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X-post assassination.
It is not well known that Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King were friends during or after their husbands' deaths. Shabazz remained active and vocal after Malcolm X died. So much so, she became a civil rights institution herself.
Coretta Scott King, after the death of Martin Luther King became and iconic figure and role model in the African American community. Her children were largely regarded as the torch bearers of their father’s legacy. Mary J. Blige, in the sneak peak says, although both women were fighting for peace in different ways, they needed each other.
January and February respectively are the months both leaders are honored. Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King’s national holiday. February is the month Malcolm X was assassinated.
"Betty and Coretta" is 9 time Grammy winner Mary J. Blige’s tenth acting role. Blige, the R&B and hip hop Diva, stars as Betty Shabazz. Included in the film’s preview is the notorious July 1997 house fire that killed Betty Shabazz. Shabazz’s grandson was held responsible for the fire. At the time, he was a 12-year-old struggling with identity and a sudden, polarizing launch into economic hardship—a condition with which the youngster was quite unfamiliar.
Angela Bassett, in 1992, starred in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X as Betty Shabazz. “Coretta and Betty” may pick up where the X film left off. Malik Yoba stars as Martin Luther King Jr. and Lindsay Owen Pierre stars as Malcolm X.
The previews also dramatize the horrific incident on February 21, 1965. At a speech, Malcolm X is gunned down in front of Betty Shabazz and their four daughters. The incident and the conspiracy theories related to it have plagued the family since.
Three years later, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis. King and X had two radically differing ideologies about the plight of black people in the United States. Even so, Mary J. Blige says in the sneak peak trailer, the two wives befriended and supported one another.
The film, the actresses say, is about a friendship between two women and demonstrates what it means and the importance of women being supportive of each other. Bassett says the friendship between Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz developed after tragic circumstances.
Coretta Scott King lived long after her husband’s death. She died January 30, 2006. Her funeral was broadcast on television and more than 14,000 mourners attended to pay respects in a building that held only 10,000.
"Coretta and Betty" airs Saturday, February 2 on Lifetime at 8 p.m. EST.
Mary J. Blige photo credit: wikipedia
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