Mary J. Blige New TV Movie Role as Betty Shabazz, the Wife of Malcolm X

Talk about making major moves. Eurweb reports the Queen of Hip Hop soul landed a huge gig to play the role of the wife of Malcolm X.
She’ll portray Dr. Betty Shabazz in the upcoming TV film, “Parallel Lives,” which captures the lives of Shabazz and Coretta Scott King and the relationship they shared as the wives of two slain civil rights icons.

The singer is serious about her developing job in drama and told the press that she’s studying Mrs. Shabazz.


Beginning her acting career in Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” Blige has grown significantly on screen.


Since deciding to become competitive in the drama industry, she’s taken acting lessons, and has equipped herself with an acting coach, piano coach, and dialect coach.

In a recent interview with Chelsea Handler, Blige spoke on putting the work in to grow as an actress.

“Even though I was given the part in ‘Rock of Ages,’ I wanted to prepare myself so I went to work for it,” said Blige. “I just didn’t want to get the part because I was Mary J. Blige. I went and did the work, I got an acting coach.”

In addition to “Parallel Lives” which will begin filming in September, Mary J. Blige is also scheduled to play jazz and blues legend Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic.


I wanted to find out more info about the friendship of Coretta Scott King who died in 2006 and Betty Shabazz, who died nine years earlier. I was on Clarionledger and saw what he wrote about  -what the wife of Meger Evers said, and what she had to say about there friendship…


“A few days ago, Evers-Williams reminisced about the times when they would get away together, just the three of them.


On one of those trips, Coretta Scott King shared that she and her husband sometimes had discussions, but they never fought.


“Oh, how dull,” Shabazz responded. She and Evers-Williams laughed together.


(After Coretta Scott King died in 2006, Evers-Williams spoke at length about their friendship. Here’s the story I wrote:)

Coretta Scott King didn’t want to wade into the pool, but Myrlie Evers-Williams insisted.

A friend had paid for a five-day vacation for the two women and Betty Shabazz at an exclusive Miami spa, where they came to enjoy life, despite their connection through death as widows of the nation’s best-known civil rights leaders who were slain in the 1960s.

There was Coretta Scott King, who bore the burden of carrying on the legacy of her late husband, Martin Luther King Jr. So did Shabazz, who was pregnant when she saw her husband, Malcolm X, assassinated in 1965. Evers-Williams had witnessed the last dying gasps of her husband, Medgar Evers, after he was shot in the back outside the family’s home in west Jackson in 1963.

Whenever the three women gathered, discussion of that connection seemed to arise. This time, they came up with rules: They would not talk about their late husbands, and they would not talk about the civil rights movement.

They mostly kept the rules over their five days at the spa, soaking up the much needed rest.” We had the best time,” Evers-Williams recalled.


In a week filled with saunas and massages, they found themselves revealing their deepest thoughts. They wondered aloud about their lives and those of their children. Had they been the best parents they could be?

“Our children came before anything else,” Evers-Williams said. “We questioned whether we had done too much or whether we had not done enough. Just three souls joined by tragedy that we were still working to overcome.”

Evers-Williams was just learning to swim and wanted to spend time in the pool. She asked King to join her. “At first, she didn’t want to put on a bathing suit,” she recalled. “They knew who we were, but especially Coretta.”

So the spa gave the trio private time in the pool. King finally gave in, donning her bathing suit and stepping into the water.


Evers-Williams, however, could never coax her beneath the waves.


“The public saw the warmth, graciousness and strength, but she rarely showed the real human humorous part of herself,” Evers-Williams said.


“Of all the times I’ve been with Coretta, I knew she had a wonderful sense of humor. That was the first time I heard her let go and have belly laughs.”


Even in private, though, King never aired grievances, she recalled. “I never knew Coretta to say anything negative about anybody.”

Instead of rebutting criticism, “she would just go on about her business,” Evers-Williams said.

The three women stayed in contact and tried to get together whenever they could.

In the early 1990s, the women were together again at a ceremony where Evers-Williams received the Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award.

Her husband, Walter Williams, came with her for the event, she said. “He adored Coretta and Betty.”

Shabazz was so impressed with Williams she asked, “Does he have a brother?”

“Yes, but he’s married,” Evers-Williams replied.

Shabazz joked that perhaps she’d steal Williams away from her, and Evers-Williams shot back it would be “over my dead body.”


In 1994, the national NAACP board chose Evers-Williams as chairman. Days after that, Williams died of cancer, and King family joined the Evers family in mourning.


A few years after that, King came to Los Angeles with Shabazz, who was just getting over the flu. Evers-Williams’ son, Van, captured the three women in a photograph.

It would be the last picture taken of them together. In 1997, a fire injured Shabazz, and King rushed to see her.

“Coretta was always there for her family and friends,” Evers-Williams said. “What a God-sent human being.”

Evers-Williams arrived a few days later, and the two women shared with Shabazz how much she meant to them. “I left so heavy,” she said. “We were all hoping she would pull through.” She didn’t.


The trip they had already planned to return to the spa had to be cancelled.


In 1998, King presented the NAACP’s highest honor, the Springarn Medal to Evers-Williams, who had inherited an NAACP wracked with scandals and more than $4 million in debt. As a result of her work, the organization wound up with a surplus of more than $2 million.

Evers-Williams had asked King to present the medal and thought about her late husband, who had won the award posthumously 35 years earlier.


Tragedy reunited the women together two years later when Evers-Williams’ oldest son, Darrell, learned he had terminal colon cancer.



Over the Thanksgiving holidays, King and her children, Yolanda and Dexter, visited with Evers-Williams, her son and their family in Los Angeles.

A few months later, King cancelled an important engagement so she could come for the funeral.

Evers-Williams marveled at her friend’s compassion and how she never forgot about others. “She always found the time to say hello,” she recalled.

In recent months, she heard of her friend’s heart attack and stroke. King was unable to speak on the phone, so Evers-Williams left messages.

At each lecture she delivered over the King holiday, she paid tribute to the widow. “I reminded the audience that she had been his strength and advisor,” Evers-Williams said. “I told them without her determination, there probably would not be a Martin Luther King holiday.”


On Tuesday, Evers-Williams got the call at 4:15 a.m., learning of her friend’s death.


She called one of Coretta Scott King’s friends, who remarked of her passing: “It’s as though God said, ‘You have done enough and sent Martin down to sweep her up into his arms.”

When she talked later with her son, Van, she remarked that she was the last one left of the three. “I’m it,” she said.

Van Evers said he jokingly told his mother, “If you up and die on me, I’ll dig you up and beat you to death.”

Since her friend’s passing, Evers-Williams has spent time trimming back the still-thriving orchid that King had given her last March for her 72nd birthday. “All those memories of the spa came flooding back,” she said. “She was a woman with a mission, with invincible strength and an absolutely beautiful spirit.””

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