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Mary J. Blige’s acting career is picking up steam. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul (and part-time chicken crooner) has landed a role, playing Betty Shabazz in the new film Parallel Lives.

The made-for-TV drama chronicles the similarities between the lives of the late Shabazz— widow of Malcolm X—and Corretta Scott King—widow of Martin Luther King Jr. While further details behind the small screen adaptation remain scarce, filming is set to begin in September, and the 41-year-old has already started studying for the role. “I’m prepping for that now,” Blige said.  “I’ve been studying her online and watching her interviews.”

As of late, Blige has taken a break from music to beef up her acting resume, and co-stars in Rock of Ages with Tom Cruise, opening this weekend.

Here’s hoping she’ll do Mrs. Shabazz justice, and make up for belting out a love-letter to Burger King crispy chicken wraps.

Never forget.


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Photo: Vibe Vixen/Quiet Lunch