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Here's Why You Should Watch 'Genius: MLK/X', The New Groundbreaking Docu-Series


Genius: MLK/X

You don't have to say it. I thought it too. Did we need another documentary on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X? The two larger-than-life iconic Black activists' life stories have been told, reexamined, and reimagined. What could a new series offer that we haven't already read or seen? The short answer is a beautifully told story about the parallel lives of two Black men who have been depicted in the media as opposites.


The Quintessential Gentleman was able to exclusively watch and interview the stars of National Geographic's new eight-part series, and before we move forward I must say, Genius: MLK/X is one of the best-reimagined documentaries I have seen, and I am a documentary connoisseur.


There's something about learning about the lives of influential people that will always hold my attention. From the casting to how the story is told, Genius: MLK/X will keep audiences wanting more.


Genius: MLK/X

Kelvin Harrison Jr., who portrays Martin Luther King Jr., and Aaron Pierre, who portrays Malcolm X, are two of the most talented young men in Hollywood today. From their articulation of words to their mannerisms, it was evident that Harrison and Pierre took the time to properly prepare for their challenging roles.


"I think learning so much about this man, and how he centered and grounded himself, I leaned into that to strengthen me and guide me through my journey of portraying him," Pierre shared about preparing for his role.


Genius: MLK/X

The duo invoked the essence of the powerful men with authenticity and depth. Harrison says there's something relatable about Dr. King, "There's something about the function of how he moved that I find relatable, which is something that we all have in us. How am I being my best self? How am I listening? How am I respecting one another? And how am I being open to what this thing called life is?"


The ensemble cast also helped elevate the new series. From Weruche Opia and Jayme Lawson, the actors who portrayed Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz, respectively, to the young men who played the younger versions of King and X, everyone flexed their acting chops. There was not one "weak" performance that graced the screen.


For everyone who loves historical facts, this docu-series will have you Googling to confirm and learn more about some of the references made. It gives a true-to-life backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and the lives of the leaders. But the special sauce of Genius: MLK/X is how the lives of the two men were woven together to highlight the interesting parallels. From their similar experiences in fighting for justice and equality to the complicated relationships they both had with the "fathers" in their lives, the beautifully shot series paints a crystal clear picture of King and X's world.


Genius: MLK/X

Another interesting and intentional plot point is the inclusion of the civil rights leaders' wives' lives. In other documentaries, Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz exist but only as foundational anchors to the leaders; reduced to only being the wives of two great men. Genius: MLK/X does a phenomenal job at depicting beautiful Black women as strong, educated, and impactful in their own right.


Genius: MLK/X

In the episode titled The Matriarchs, we got a glimpse of what the early years looked like for the "first ladies." We also got to see how they stood their ground in their marriage and stood up to their husbands. Opia and Lawson embodied their roles and the chemistry between both husband and wife were shining through the screen.


For the generations who have never been in the presence of these men or heard them live, their larger-than-life personalities have been shrunken to images, old videos and historical speeches. But in Genius: MLK/X, we can see their humanity. We see them as fathers, husbands, sons and friends. We get a great depiction of these two men who were Black while living in America during a time when our rights were limited.


Genius: MLK/X premieres tonight at 9 pm on ABC with two episodes and then two episodes airing every week.

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