Betty & Coretta by Angenita Williams

I watched this movie on Lifetime, and I must say, I wasn’t extremely wowed.

I will admit the movie opened my eyes to two of the most prolific wives in our history. I did not know that Betty Shabazz was left broke and pregnant. It took an insurmountable amount of strength to watch her husband die, know her kids watched it too, and continue on raising six children, two of them twins. She worked hard, she gave, and she did try to uplift those in need around her.

Coretta was amazing as she fought hard for the King Holiday. While I knew people said that MLK was a philanderer, I did not know that she really stood by his side like she did. And that had me a little conflicted, only because he was a man of God, and he was in the struggle for equality. He was worshiped as an upstanding man. But, then again, how many pastors fall prey to the flesh while preaching fidelity? He still did a lot for the movement, despite his indiscretions.

It was too broad for me. The movie didn’t delve deeper in to their lives, like I wanted, and I understand that it would have taken many more hours of screen time to tell it all.

The highlight of the movie for me was Ruby Dee. Her account of the events that happened between the two ladies was extraordinary because she was a living testament to the struggle these women went through. Her recollection of the events moved me as her emotions showed through. There was a moment where she talks about Betty and Coretta dying, and a tear escapes her eye. Those moments with Ruby Dee were touching.

Mary J. Blige did ok for the role of Betty. Angela Bassett is no stranger to playing powerful women. Malik Yoba surprised me in his role as MLK – he looked and sounded a lot like him. The film showed Malcolm X in a calmer, quieter light.

Overall, I give the movie a B-. I think it does open our eyes to the women behind the struggle, but it falls short on an emotional level.


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