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‘Genius: MLK/X’ Stars Share Their Experience Portraying Coretta and Betty | WATCH

National Geographic’s Genius series returns with “Genius: MLK/X” the tale of two of America’s greatest icons, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. The Genius is an autobiographical dramatization of those who have been influential in our society.

Now in its fourth season, “Genius: MLK/X” focuses on the lives of both Martin and Malcolm simultaneously.

Although the two only met once and never worked together during the civil rights movement, there were many parallels to their lives, including their strong family unit held together by their wives.  

Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz became just as influential as their husbands. These women were also activists and leaders in their own right.

GeniusMLKX_Ep402_Sc48_16722
Martin and Coretta, played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Weruche Opia, make a big decision in GENIUS: MLK/X. (National Geographic/Richard DuCree)

History may not teach this but the women were very instrumental during the civil rights era.

“Women have been the backbone of the movement,” a quote from Coretta Scott King in the series.  

Although this series mainly features Malcolm and Martin, you cannot tell their stories without telling the stories of their wives. In this series, the producers do a great job of making sure these two women are not just an afterthought. It is important to know the significant impact of these women in our history.

We spoke with Weruche Opia (King) and Jayme Lawson (Shabazz) about playing these women.  

“Coretta was not only just a wife or a mother. She was involved in so many things and if not for Coretta Scott King I don’t think Martin Luther King would be the icon that we know today,” said Opia.

 Jayme Lawson as Betty Shabazz in a scene from GENIUS: MLK/X
Jayme Lawson as Betty Shabazz in a scene from GENIUS: MLK/X

During the eight-episode series, there is one episode dedicated to the women. Lawson expressed her gratitude towards the showrunners initially focusing on Betty and Coretta.

“Properly honoring them to be these women who had dreams and aspirations independent of the men that they fell in love with. The reason why Martin and Malcom love Betty and Coretta is because of those aspirations and dreams they had. Those men were dreamers and so were their wives,” said Lawson.  

Coretta Scott King, played by Weruche Opia, and Betty Shabazz, played by Jayme Lawson, in GENIUS: MLK/X. (National Geographic/Richard DuCree)

Lawson added: “There have been many depictions of both Martin and Malcolm in film and television. But this series had a different way of humanizing them. Throughout the years I believe most of us have only seen Martin, Coretta, Malcolm, and Betty as great legends. We didn’t take the time to see them as people. To truly understand the sacrifices they made for the Black community to evolve and gain freedom.”  

Genius: MLK/X” airs February 1st on National Geographic.  

MORE NEWS AT EURWEB: Sir Lenny Henry and Rochelle Neil Unpack Poignant Drama Series ‘Three Little Birds’ | EUR Video Exclusive

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