The Big Picture
- National Geographic’s Genius: MLK/X series explores the early days and different approaches of Dr. King and Malcolm X in their fight for civil rights.
- The series features powerful performances by Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Dr. King and Aaron Pierre as Malcolm X, along with talented actresses portraying their wives.
- Viewers can also explore other productions like Selma and MLK/FBI to learn more about Dr. King’s life and the tactics used against the civil rights movement.
As many of us head into a long weekend, with Monday off for MLK Day, it’s important to celebrate the men and women who led us to this point, while also noting the work that’s still left to be done. Doing their part to educate the masses and celebrate two of the biggest names tied to the Civil Rights movement, National Geographic has released their trailer for the next chapter in their anthology series, Genius: MLK/X. Kicking off with a two-episode premiere on February 1, the latest installment of the Ron Howard-executive-produced program will unveil the early days behind both men’s drive to make the world a better place and depict their different tactics in reaching their goals.
While they were both two of the loudest voices of their generation, it took a long time for Dr. King and X to cross paths, with the trailer revealing the goose-bump-inducing moment when the two finally run into one another at a press conference. From there, we see the beginnings of both of their journeys from boyhood to becoming iconic historical figures and names known around the world. Each man’s name is synonymous with his different approach to fighting for the cause, with Dr. King leaning toward non-violent activism and X pushing for Black empowerment and challenging Dr. King’s pacifist practices.
Playing the men at the head of the movement are Chevalier and The Trial of the Chicago 7’s Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Foe‘s Aaron Pierre as Dr. King and X, respectively. As we know from the people closest to both of the legendary activists, they would’ve been nothing without their wives with Weruche Opia (I May Destroy You) starring as Coretta Scott King and Jayme Lawson (The Batman) as Betty Shabazz. Genius: MLK/X also marks one of the final performances by This Is Us star and multiple award winner, Ron Cephas Jones.
Other Titles That Celebrate the Civil Rights Movement
After you watch the trailer for Genius: MLK/X, you can tune in for a slew of other productions that lift up the movement and the people behind it. One of the most recent big-screen tellings of the work of Dr. King arrived in Ava DuVernay’s critically celebrated 2014 title, Selma. Starring David Oyelowo (Lawmen: Bass Reeves), the film is the perfect way to learn more about the life of Dr. King, specifically in the years 1964 and 1965 and the monumental marches led for voting rights. You can stream the title now on Paramount+.
If you’re looking for more of a documentary style, Hulu is the current home of IFC Films’ MLK/FBI. Featuring interviews with those closest to Dr. King, the film pulls back the curtain on the ruthless tactics used by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI to derail the movement by any means necessary.
As for Genius: MLK/X, the first two episodes arrive on National Geographic at 9/8c on February 1 with streaming available the next day on both Disney+ and Hulu. Episodes will follow each week, with eight in total. Check out the trailer below.