Ilyasah Shabazz, the third daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, is set to executive produce a TV series based on her legendary revolutionary father. It is in the works at Sony Pictures Television’s TriStar, according to Variety. Here are 3 things to know.
A notable educator, award-winning author and motivational speaker, Shabazz, 59, has co-written several books about her father, two of which will serve as the source material for the show.
“X: A Novel” was co-written by Shabazz with Kekla Magoon. It details the civil rights activist’s childhood up to the age of 20 when he was incarcerated. “The Awakening of Malcolm X” details the brilliant orator’s time in prison, his conversion to Islam and his transformation from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X. It was co-written by Shabazz with Tiffany D. Jackson.
Shabazz will collaborate with Bob Tietel and George Tillman of State Street Pictures and Jermaine Johnson and Molly Madden of 3 Arts Entertainment. According to Variety, State Street’s Jay Marcus and Ron Baldwin will also serve as co-executive producers.
Just 2 years old at the time, Shabazz was present in New York’s famed Audubon Ballroom in Harlem when her father was assassinated at the young age of 39. She has said that she has no memory of the incident but has worked throughout her life to preserve her father’s legacy and apply his values.
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“As much as I grew up loving who I am as a woman, as a person of the African diaspora, first-world nations, and as a Muslim, as much as I love me and my totality is how I love others, I see myself as a reflection of you and I see you as a reflection of me,” Shabazz told The Washington Post in an interview in May. “And if there is any kind of injustice, then most certainly I’m willing to step forward and help in any way that I can.”
The co-chair of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education, she said she believes that racial progress would be greater if her father was still alive. “I don’t think that we would still be marching, protesting and demonstrating for the same things that we were marching for 55, 56 years ago when my father was alive,” Shabazz said in a May interview to commemorate her father’s 96th birthday. “He was a results-oriented person.”
Shabazz also reflected on the importance her father placed on family. “We grew up with his poetry that he would write to my mother or his reflection. When my father married his wife, as much as he loved New York, he brought her to his home state of Michigan and they married there. His family was very important to him,” Shabazz said.
Holding family dear is a quality of her father’s that Shabazz seems to have emulated. Her late nephew, Malcolm Shabazz, who was killed in Mexico at the age of 28, often spoke lovingly of his “Aunt Ilyasah” to friends and colleagues. He named his oldest daughter after her.