Malcolm X, played by Aaron Pierre, stands during Temple in GENIUS: MLK/X. (National Geographic/Richard DuCree)
National Geographic’s newest installment of Emmy Award-winning anthology series, GENIUS, premieres this February. For the first time, the docu-drama series explores the lives of two iconic geniuses: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. GENIUS: MLK/Xwill premiere on National Geographic (DSTV 181, StarSat: 220) on Mondays at 19:50 (CAT) from 5 February 2024, with two brand new episodes double-billed each week.
GENIUS: MLK/X follows both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and Malcolm X (Aaron Pierre) from their formative years, where they were molded by strong fathers and traumatic injustices, to their rich, parallel stories as they shaped their identities and became the change they wished to see in the world. Influenced as children by different upbringings and experiences, King by the Jim Crow-era South and life in the church before finding his voice at Morehouse and Boston University, and X growing up under the constant, deadly violence of the Klan and falling into a life of vice and incarceration where he was introduced to the Nation of Islam and found his voice. The two visionaries ultimately rose to pioneer a movement.
The docu-drama series offers an intimate look into their complex lives as husbands, fathers, brothers and sons, taking them off the iconic T-shirts to show their humanity. GENIUS: MLK/X brings their wives, Coretta Scott King (Weruche Opia) and Betty Shabazz (Jayme Lawson), who are often portrayed as peripheral figures, to the forefront and shows them as formidable equals of the Movement. Episodes will explore the moments between the monumental historical events we’ve come to know and shine a light on how each leader and those closest to them questioned their resolve and decisions as they navigated the rigors of balancing a public persona with a private life. While King and X met only once and often challenged each other’s views, neither would have been as successful without the other.