In an exclusive interview with Incluvie, writer and executive producer of Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story, Ericka Nicole Malone discusses her humble beginnings, her work process when crafting the Mahalia Jackson biopic, and what makes her stand out from the crowd.
Ericka was very vocal about how she began writing and producing work. The producer is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and has been writing and directing ever since she was a little girl. She has said:
“When I got into, I’d say, college, it’s when I started really producing plays. So, even as a little girl I was producing my little mini-worlds, little plays. So, I always knew that one day I’d be a producer, but I went to a performing arts high school and theater in playwriting and had an amazing teacher, who, in my senior year, taught me about the art of playwriting and writing scripts.”
Afterward, Malone produced better plays and musicals and twenty years later she wrote her first sitcom pilot in 2015 called Ward of the State, which starred Janet Hubart and Brenda Vivian, and later wrote Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story.
‘The Mahalia Jackson Story’ Background
When explaining what drew her to writing the story behind Mahalia Jackson, the producer explained:
“Growing up in the south, she [Mahalia Jackson] was such a national treasure, and what I loved about her was understanding that she was so influential in the Civil Rights movement that she was a hidden figure, in the sense that she was a big sister to Dr. Martin Luther King. She helped finance some of his rallies, she would open for a lot of those rallies.”
That led Malone to better understand that there were so many private conversations between Jackson and Martin Luther King. Malone did nine months’ worth of research to properly write the film. She wanted audiences to watch the film like they were having a cup of coffee with Mahalia Jackson and wanted to communicate how amazing of a woman she is.
When asked about what makes her truly unique in the film industry Malone eloquently said:
“What makes me unique is that I’m not coming from the industry. I’m bringing who I am into the industry. I’m not looking for the industry to validate me. For instance, being from Louisville, Kentucky, I have an ability to bring the différent audiences around the country that have seen my plays and their experiences to what I write and create. Having that experience and bringing that realness to my writing I think is my greatest strength.”
She added on by saying:
“I think filmmakers should be confident in not trying to fit into a mold. I like to create my own mold and then bring it to Hollywood.”
Malone continues to create and has an animated feature film in the works with Janet Hubert (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) called J.G. and the B.C. Kids. She has helped finance other people’s projects. She hopes to be a quiet inspiration for people.
Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story is currently available on HULU.