R&B recording artist, songwriter and actress Ledisi has joined the growing cast of Ava DuVernay’s MLK drama Selma, playing gospel singer and friend of Martin Luther King Jr, Mahalia Jackson, who sang at the March on Washington in 1963, where King, Jr. made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. She also sang at his funeral after he was assassinated in 1968.
Further, Jackson assisted with raising money for the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, where she sang, despite death threats. And she appeared often with King, singing before his speeches and for SCLC fundraisers.
Ledisi joins David Oyelowo as MLK, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Keith Stanfield playing playing Jimmie Lee Jackson, and Lorraine Toussaint playing Amelia Boynton, in a film produced by Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Christian Colson (who won an Oscar for producing Slumdog Millionaire).