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Fantasia has “Mahalia” singing the blues

Fantasia Barrino

Producers of legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson’s upcoming Hollywood film are reportedly irked after the film’s star, American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, concealed her pregnancy by a married boyfriend.

The family of the squeaky-clean Mahalia — the Queen of Gospel — is said to be aghast. Rapper Missy Elliott and fellow American Idol finalist Mandisa Hundley have been mentioned as possible replacements. Shooting for the movie starts in January.  


Production has been pushed back — hiking the film’s budget from $23 million to $27 million, according to the New York Post. Producers are also furious that Fantasia, 27, told them she was putting on weight for the role.

“The family thinks if Fantasia plays the role, it’s going to sully the name of Mahalia,” executive producer Adrian Taylor told the Post‘s “Page Six” celebrity gossip column. “They think she’s got the wrong image, having a child out of wedlock.”

Due to scheduling conflict, “director Euzhan Palcy may be forced to drop out of the project,” reported the Post.


Mahalia Jackson

The film “has gone from singing Gospel to singing the blues, as the pregnancy of star Fantasia Barrino is apparently being viewed as anything but a bundle of joy from producers,” reported Mike Scott for the New Orleans  Times-Picayune. “In fact, it could spell the end of her involvement with the project all together.”


The film is based on the 1993 book Go Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel, which tells of Jackson’s rise from an impoverished New Orleans childhood to stardom in the U.S. and Europe as a Gospel great, including her work in the civil rights movement and her induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

She began recording in 1931 with the single, “You Better Run, Run, Run” of which no copies are known to have survived. She had limited success until 1948 when her “Move On Up A Little Higher” sold eight million copies and was so popular that stores could not stock enough copies to meet demand. She was catapaulted into instant fame and began appearing in concert halls in New York and across Europe, accompanied by full orchestras instead of at churches as she had done since teenage.


Her 1949 “Let the Power of the Holy Ghost Fall on Me” won the French Academy’s Grand Prix du Disque. Sales skyrocketed into the millions with “Amazing Grace” (1947), “I Can Put My Trust in Jesus” (1949), “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (1950), “The Lord’s Prayer” (1950), “”His Eye is on the Sparrow” (1951), “I Believe” (1953), “Didn’t It Rain” (1953), and “Nobody Knows” (1954).

She was the first Gospel singer to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall. In 1961, she performed at U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. At the 1963 March on Washington, she sang in front of 250,000 people “How I Got Over” and “I’ve Been ‘Buked and I’ve Been Scorned” as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prepared to deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. She sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at his funeral.


When she died in 1972, 50,000 people filed past her bier at Chicago’s Greater Salem Baptist Church. A two-hour, standing-room-only funeral at the Arie Crown Theater included tributes by Mayor Richard J. Daley, Sammy Davis, Jr., Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and Coretta Scott King. Three days later, the scene repeated itself at New Orleans’ Rivergate Convention Center where she was eulogized by the famous and powerful. Lou Rawls sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”  Comedian Dick Gregory praised ‘Mahalia’s “moral force” as the main reason for her success.” Actor Harry Belafonte called her as “the single most powerful black woman in the United States.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Laurence Ringo

    One can only speculate what’s going through Fantasia’s mind;until this story,I didn’t even know that she was still involved with this man.At any rate,It’s obvious that she(Fantasia)is a poor choice to portray the late Gospel great.I’m hoping that she will exhibit some modicum of dignity,integrity,and respect and quietly withdraw without being forced to.She needs to embrace the Gospel herself and start doing the right thing!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tynor

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment tyrone

    that’s bull. if FAntasia doesnt play Mahalia like we been waiting to see her do then we are not going to see the movie….and i love Missy to death but what in Jesus name would she be doing playing MAhalia Jackson? really? its Fantasia’s part. the movie will work but not if they TAKE it from her. baby out of wedlock??? what?? Zion is like 9 or 10 I believe. the world knew that years ago. Whoever made this film, the family, whoever all knew she had a baby out of wedlock. if they take the part for that reason she should she. as far as the budget hike, take it out of her check or re-work her contract because that film wont work without her. sorry. buzz has been simmering too long. she’s God’s child too still. injustice i scream. injustice!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment tyrone

    she should ‘sue’ I meant. her baby was on american idol and all over her own reality show. everyone knows she had a baby out of wedlock. she never hid that. her song was called “BABy Mama.” she uplifted the single unwed mothers on her first album. you cant give a woman with a child out of wedlock a job and then turn around and take her job because she’s having a baby out of wedlock. what?!?! typical hypocrites but then again what or who are we talking about here. Is this still America? have we made it? she is the Gospel. thats not an issue. if she doesnt play MAhalia now then the film will fail. truth.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment THEODORIS CARRUTHERS



    LEAD YOU..

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jeanette Purifoy

    Don’t condemn others and stop judging Fantasia. Yes she has made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes,but she is a child of God and can be forgiven. I am glad that God looks on the inside of our heart and see what man carnal mind can’t see. I am sure the late great Mahalia Jackson has come short and have a past that she is not proud of. Check her past and see if she lived a perfect life. Now run and tell that.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment DOUG


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment teamfantasia

    She did H a baby out of wedlock but their issue NOW IS that she’s NOW PREGNANT AGAIN BUT NOW IT’S by a married man.
    That’s the ordeal now. I am all for Fantasia playing the roll because if anyone can honor Mahalia with morality it would no one. So why not let the roll be played by the TOTAL opposite and send a message of repentance and forgiveness sins. How many people played the part of JESUS HIMSELF…was there ever a question of their morals??? Or SAY how dare they play Jesus?? NO! NO ONE QUESTIONED THAT. Because no one would be able to play the part. There was only one JESUS and now there was only one MAHALIA SO WHY QUESTION WHO’S PLAYING MAHALIA THEN? She was a rigtheous role model YES but she wasn’t JESUS.

  • Arene

    We should not attempt to nullify Gods word to increase membership. So many come to God after realizing the world is not whats it’s cracked up to be. Gods word as is will do what it was meant to do, it eill not return to Him void. Fantasia is wrong and that is what has to be acknowledged, God still saves, but she is dead wrong in her choices. Either we speak the truth and praise God or the stones will take our place. Get someone else so that Fantasia can grow! She was blessed with a voice and not to be the voice of the Lord God.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment GO4IT

    “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man has a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
    Colossians 3:13

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Loretha

    He who is without sin, cast the first stone. All good gifts come from God. Fantasia’s voice is no exception. We don’t know how God works; it could be his plan to reach Fantasia through her playing this role. In the corporate world, if you fire someone because they are pregnant, that’s against the law. The bible says to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God, what is God’s. Therefore, going against the law of the land is committing a sin. You claim that Fantasia’s sin is greater than your sin? Sin is sin, t6hat’s why we are not equipped to judge one another. The producers need to pray oin this and seek God’s face. The God I serve don’t shun his people. WE ARE ALL SINNERS, SAVED BY THE GRACE OF GOD, AND NOT BY OUR WORKS. Producers get over yourselves and stop being so sanctimonious; Let God abide.

  • http://FantasiacanstilldoMahaliaiftheJudgesbackoff Donna

    I am not sure too many people understand the main point of Fantasia playing the part of Mahalia. It just has to be the voice and that is the final answer. How and why does her (Fantasia’s) values enter into playing a role? I believe people need to stop and think just how silly this whole thing is about removing Fantasia from playing Mahalia. Another key point. Fantasia is not Mahalia, she is just playing, pretending, role playing, acting. Then do not get me started, there are so many people doing things that we may not personally agree with, but what does that have to do with their God given talent? My vote is to allow Fantasia to play Mahalia.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Debbie A Stanton

    Jesus was brought a women caught in adultery, they wanted to stone her. Jesus said who ever is without sin may cast the first stone. No one did. Jesus said is there no one left and her reply was no. Then neither do I, go and sin no more. This young girl was wrong, but she has chosen the right thing to do. She is not killing her baby to cover up her first wrong. She has chosen life for her baby. To me that speaks volumes. Many believe the same as I do. Jesus did not come into the world to condom the world but to love the world. When will we stop seeing the sin and love the person. I say let her have the part and see what God does to promote the movie.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Toni P . Steadmon

    When Fantasia was asked to “play” Mahalia Jackson, was she asked then was she pregnant. No!Then why does what in her personal life have to do with the tea in China, she ha been ridculed on “ever aspect of her life since she won American Idiol, so why must you continue to denagrate this younglady, no one has said anything about Alicia Keys, because she’s a victim of her own misery, by way of the her actions. So lets not be so quick to judge anyone, but this part is naturally hers, she is the Gospel and the Lord has not condemed her, so we shouldn’t either

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kim Matthews

    Are these people for real?! Are the producers and Ms. Jackson’s family really so righteous? Is there is righteousness test that has to be passed before actors/actresses can PLAY a part in a movie? Not to be disrespectful, but I’m sure Ms. Jackson did something that people didn’t approve of when she was alive. How many people are going to watch this movie and think about Fantasia’s personal life instead of seeing Ms. Jackson?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Geneva Poole

    ” I see it as a fitting role for Fantasia to be the star: Mary the mother of JESUS became pregnant o

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Your Name

    I think Jill Scott or Areatha Franklin should play the role. Thats just my opinion.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marion Jackson

    The question that I have is did they forget that Fantasia had already had a child out of wedlock? If it didn’t make a difference then why is it such a big thing now. I am not justifying Fantasia’s actions by any means. She should have been truthful from the beginning then she would not be involved in another bunch of mess. The one thing we must all do is to continue to pray for her for certainly we are not her judges. God get the final say on Fantasia. She will have to answer to him for all -things.


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment wyma

    We as Christians shouldn’t judge, nobody else for that matter,every one sins. We all make mistakes. That baby is a blessing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment CATHY BAKER

    The thing is that all of you have a valid point.You are all correct in some way. There are two sides of the coin. That Christ loves & died for Fantasia is a fact, just as He did for Mahalia…and you..and me. It is really between the producers,Fantasia & God Himself, it’s nobody’s else’s business.I hope all are prayerful people & the right thing is done. Wonder what Mahalia herself would think ?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment C Brown

    Mahalia Jackson Estate fully supports Fantasia in movie role

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