The new Lifetime movie ‘The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel’ premieres April 11. The Clark Sisters are one of the greatest gospel groups of all-time.
The Lifetime movie is telling the incredible true story of the all-female gospel group and their mother Mattie Moss Clark. The movie, premiering April 11 at 8 p.m. ET, stars Christina Bell as Twinkie, Kierra Sheard as Karen, Sheléa Frazier as Dorinda, Raven Goodwin as Denise, Angela Birchett as Jacky, and Aunjanue Ellis as Mattie. Press for the film was altered due to the coronavirus outbreak but the network and its producers pressed on and turned their campaign to a digital one.
Six interesting facts about the the Sisters and the movie that you need to know:
1. The Clark Sisters initially consisted of 5 sisters. The group started out with Jacky Clark Chisholm, Denise Clark Bradford, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark-Terrell, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Karen Clark Sheard. They rose to fame in the 1980s and are known for helping bring gospel music to the mainstream. Their first album, Jesus Has a Lot to Give, was released in 1973. Their most popular songs include “Is My Living in Vain”, “Hallelujah”, “He Gave Me Nothing to Lose”, “Endow Me”, “Jesus Is A Love Song”, and more. The group has won Grammy Awards, including Best Gospel Performance and Best Traditional Gospel Album. They are the highest-selling female gospel group in history.
2. The Lifetime movie features a family connection in the cast. Kierra Sheard, who plays Karen, is playing the role of her mother in the movie. Kierra has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is a gospel recording artist.
3. There’s been some family drama over the years. The sisters have all explored solo careers, but Denise left the group in 1986. The group forged ahead with only 4 members after Denise’s departure and released a number of albums.
4. The group recently released a new album. The Return was released in March 2020. Snoop Dogg is featured on the track “His Love.” It was The Clark Sisters’ first album since the release of A Clark Family Christmas in 2009.
5. The Clark Sisters notably performed at Aretha Franklin’s funeral. The Clark Sisters sang a powerful rendition of “Is My Living in Vain” at the 2018 service. Aretha and the group previously performed together at the 2008 Grammys. Aretha also sang at their mother’s funeral in 1994.
6. The cast The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel is doing their own singing. It was important to executive producers Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott to find actors who could take on such difficult music. Director Christine Swanson wanted singers who could “bring the house down” in order to really capture “the essence of the Clark Sisters.”