The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel
The Clark Sisters biopic official poster.jpg
The official poster for The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel
Written by
  • Sylvia L. Jones
  • and Camille Tucker
Directed byChristine Swanson
Starring
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Producers
Release
Original release
  • April 11, 2020 (2020-04-11)[1]

The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel is a 2020 American biographical film about gospel group The Clark Sisters. Directed by Christine Swanson, and co-written by Sylvia L. Jones and Camille Tucker, the film stars Christina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin, and Angela Birchett. It premiered on Lifetime on April 11, 2020.[2][3]

Plot

The film centers on the formation of gospel group The Clark Sisters, the daughters and pupils of gospel singer and devout Christian Mattie Moss Clark.[4] The plot follows their journey from their hometown of Detroit to becoming the highest-selling gospel group in music history.[2][5]

Cast

Production

The movie was filmed between January and February 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

On March 27, 2019, it was announced that Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Productions had greenlit the film to be released in 2020.[8] Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Loretha Jones and Holly Carter served as executive producers for the film.[2]

The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel is the first authorized biopic about the group.[8] The producers noted in an interview at the 2020 TCA press tour that estranged sister Denise Clark-Bradford was invited to be a part of the film but did not state the extent of her involvement.[9]

The film was directed by Christine Swanson and written by Sylvia L. Jones and Camille Tucker, who wrote the story. Kierra Sheard portrayed her real-life mother, Karen Clark Sheard.[4]

Soundtrack

No.TitleWriter(s)Performer(s)Length
1."The Beginning (Spoken Word)" Aunjanue Ellis & Cast1:39
2."What He’s Done for Me"Mattie Moss ClarkChristina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin & Angela Birchett2:33
3."In the Studio (Spoken Word)" Aunjanue Ellis & Sheléa Frazier0:21
4."If You Can’t Take It, You Sure Can’t Make It"Leva Mae PennimanChristina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin & Angela Birchett2:03
5."Karen Finds Her Voice (Spoken Word)" Aunjanue Ellis, Kierra Sheard & Cast0:29
6."I Can Do All Things Thru Christ That Strengthens Me"Twinkie ClarkKierra Sheard & Dorinda Clark-Cole2:27
7."Twinkie Takes Over (Spoken Word)" Aunjanue Ellis & Christina Bell0:30
8."Praying Spirit"Twinkie ClarkChristina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin & Angela Birchett3:58
9."Nothing to Lose, All to Gain"Twinkie ClarkChristina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin & Angela Birchett4:17
10."Crossover (Spoken Word)" Aunjanue Ellis, Christina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin & Angela Birchett0:46
11."You Brought the Sunshine"Twinkie ClarkChristina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin & Angela Birchett4:11
12."Name It Claim It"Twinkie ClarkChristina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin & Angela Birchett2:32
13."Name It Claim It (Dorinda’s Sermonette) [Spoken Word]" Sheléa Frazier1:22

Notes

Charts

Chart (2020) Peak position
US Top Gospel Albums (Billboard)[10] 8

The soundtrack album debuted at number eight on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart, where it remained in its second week. In its third week, the album slipped to number 23.[11]

Release

The film premiered on Lifetime on April 11, 2020.[4]

Reception

Critical reception

The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel premiere was the most-watched film on Lifetime in four years.[12]

The film received mixed critical reception. In a review for rogerebert.com, Nell Minow rated the film 3.5/4 stars, calling Ellis's performance "mesmerizing" and the music "a gorgeous, spirit-lifting celestial chorus."[13] Joelle Monique of The A.V. Club rated the film a C+ and wrote in the review, "...it feels like a chorus of Clark sisters, each with their interpretation of events, presented in a way that wouldn’t offend anyone person in the group."[14] Writing for The Root, Panama Jackson stated in a more positive review: "It’s both heartwarming and endearing, while not skirting any of the issues that plagued their ultimately triumphant and still ongoing journey: domestic violence, gender inequality in the church, interpersonal issues, medical issues, mental health, life, etc."[15]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2021 Black Reel Television Awards Outstanding Television Movie or Limited Series The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel Nominated [16]
Outstanding Actress, TV Movie/Limited Series Aunjanue Ellis Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress, TV Movie/Limited Series Raven Goodwin Nominated
Outstanding Director, TV Movie/Limited Series Christine Swanson Nominated
Outstanding Writing, TV Movie/Limited Series Sylvia L. Jones and Camille Tucker Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Television Movie The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel Nominated [17]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Television Special, One Hour or More Live Program Series or Movie for Television – Best Period and/or Character Make-Up LaLette Littlejohn, Christopher Pizzarelli and Dorota Zajac Nominated [18]
Best Television Special, One Hour or More Live Program Series or Movie for Television – Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling Etheline Joseph, Yasmine Crosdale and Tenika Smith Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel Nominated [19]
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Aunjanue Ellis Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Christine Swanson Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Sylvia L. Jones and Camille Tucker Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Television Film The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel Won [20]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "'The Clark Sisters: First Ladies Of Gospel' Gets Premiere Date, New Trailer". shadowandact.com. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  2. ^ a b c "Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige & Missy Elliott Tell The Clark Sisters' Iconic Story in New Biopic". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  3. ^ "'The Clark Sisters' Is Lifetime's Biggest Movie in 4 Years". shadowandact.com. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  4. ^ a b c "Here's Your First Look At 'The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel'". Essence. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  5. ^ "Sheléa Speaks On The Lifetime Movie, "The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel"". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  6. ^ "Lifetime Presents The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel & A Question of Faith Easter Weekend". stylemagazine.com. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  7. ^ a b c Minow, Nell (April 27, 2020). "The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel movie review (2020)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Legaspi, Althea (2019-03-28). "Salt-N-Pepa Miniseries, the Clark Sisters Biopic In Works". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  9. ^ Haithman, Diane (2020-01-18). "'Clark Sisters' Producers, Cast Talk Estranged Sibling, Faith-Based TV-TCA". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  10. ^ "TOP GOSPEL ALBUMS". Billboard. May 9, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020 – via Billboard.com.
  11. ^ "TOP GOSPEL ALBUMS". Billboard. April 25, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020 – via Billboard.com.
  12. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (2020-04-13). "'The Clark Sisters: First Ladies Of Gospel' Biopic Marks Highest-Rated Lifetime Movie In Four Years". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  13. ^ Minow, Nell. "The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel movie review (2020) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  14. ^ "The Clark Sisters story belongs to their mother in new Lifetime movie". TV Club. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  15. ^ "The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel Movie on Lifetime Brought the Sunshine. You Should Watch It. Amen". Very Smart Brothas. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  16. ^ "Watchmen & Insecure Pace the Black Reel Awards for TV Nominations". Black Reel Awards. June 18, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  17. ^ Schneider, Michael (January 18, 2021). "'Ozark,' 'The Crown' and Netflix Lead 26th Annual Critics' Choice Awards TV Nominations". Variety. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  18. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (2021-02-18). "'Bill & Ted Face the Music' Leads Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  19. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (February 2, 2021). "NAACP Image Awards Nominations: Netflix Tops List With 'Bridgerton', 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' & 'Da 5 Bloods'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  20. ^ Van Blaricom, Mirjana (February 1, 2021). "25th Satellite Awards Nominees for Motion Pictures and Television Announced". International Press Academy. Retrieved February 1, 2021.