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Danielle Brooks to play gospel legend Mahalia Jackson in biopic

Los Angeles: Orange Is the New Black alum Danielle Brooks has signed on to play gospel music icon and civil rights activist Mahalia Jackson in an upcoming biopic in the works at Lifetime.

The movie, titled Robin Roberts Presents: The Mahalia Jackson Story , is the first in a four-film deal with the Good Morning America anchor. According to Deadline, Kenny Leon is on board as the director. The biopic will trace Jackson's life and career as she rose to become the best known gospel singer in the mid-20th century and a civil rights activist who sang at the 1963 March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. She also sang at John F. Kennedy's inaugural ball in 1961.

The project is produced by Rock'n Robin Productions and Lincoln Square Productions. Roberts and Linda Berman serve as executive producers. Having had the privilege of working with Kenny on Steel Magnolias' and Robin Roberts on Stolen by my Mother', I am ecstatic to have them join forces to work together on this special project, said Tanya Lopez, EVP of Movies, Limited Series & Original Movie Acquisitions, Lifetime and LMN.

Adding Danielle Brooks as Mahalia is icing on the cake. This team is committed in celebrating the legacy of Mahalia and reintroducing her to a world that needs her spirit more than ever, she added. Leon and Brooks previously worked together on the stage production of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing .

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