‘MLK/X’ aims to offer a fuller picture of the two icons and their wives


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By Ronda Racha Penrice, NBC

Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Aaron Pierre as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in “Genius: MLK/X.” (National Geographic)

For many Black Americans, the legacies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are inextricably linked. Yet the two men’s only documented meeting, on March 26, 1964, was an unintentional one. With the ongoing Senate debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the two crossed paths briefly, posing for the only photographed moments of them together.

Less than a year later, Malcolm X would be dead, with King following three years after. Sixty years since, they are still looming figures in our history. And “MLK/X,” Season 4 of National Geographic’s acclaimed “Genius” series starring Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Aaron Pierre, takes a deep dive into why.

The dual approach is a departure from the singular focus of the series, which has highlighted Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and Aretha Franklin. Tackling the genius of King and Malcolm X simultaneously in the series came from Hollywood power couple and series executive producers Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood.


“So often we’re asked to choose between Dr. King and Malcolm X, and so many of us don’t realize that they’re really two sides of the same coin,” said “Woman King” director Prince-Bythewood.

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