NYU Graduate Acting Alumna Aunjanue Ellis with director Christine Swanson
Alumna Christine Swanson’s The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel has become Lifetime’s highest-rated premiere in four years.
2.7 million viewers tuned in on April 11 to watch the biopic executive produced by Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott, and as of today, the film has been viewed over 13 million times. The authorized musical of incomparable gospel singers, The Clark Sisters, recounts the story of the highest selling female gospel group in history and their trailblazing mother, Mattie Moss Clark (NYU Alumna Aunjanue Ellis). Credited with bringing Gospel music to the mainstream, the five Clark sisters (Christina Bell as “Twinkie,” Kierra Sheard as “Karen,” Sheléa Frazier as “Dorinda,” Raven Goodwin as “Denise,” Angela Birchett as “Jacky”) overcame humble beginnings in Detroit, enduring abuse, loss, rejection, betrayal, and sibling rivalries to achieve international fame as icons of the Gospel music industry.
In an interview with RogerEbert.com, Swanson said that “what makes the Clark Sisters movie so compelling is the juxtaposition of the holy and the hell, so to speak….They are human indeed. Yet, they are endowed with enormous gifting and genius as well.”