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The Mahalia Jackson film starring American  Idol winner Fantasia Barrino  will explore the life of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in a new biographical film based on the Jules Schwerin book “Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel.”

The New York Post reports that the $23.9 million film, to be titled “Mahalia,” is endorsed by the estate of the late singer, who first brought gospel to mainstream white audiences. The film will trace her life from her poverty-stricken beginnings through her rise as an influential performer and supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gospel Flashback: Queen of Gospel Mahalia Jackson

Previous reports listed Euzhan Palcy as the film’s director, with Jim Evering as screenwriter. Barrino won “American Idol” in May 2004 and also released the solo albums “Free Yourself” in 2004 and “Fantasia” in December 2006. Barrino earned a 2007 Theater World Award for her performance in The Color Purple on Broadway. She repeated her performance for several engagements of the recent national tour of the Tony Award-nominated musical.

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