Reality Rocks - Archive

Fantasia Continues Comeback With New Movie Role

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Season 3 "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino had a rough time of it in 2010, with an extramarital-affair scandal and drug overdose completely overshadowing the release of her third album, Back To Me--an album that was supposed to be her big comeback after a three-year recording hiatus. But things are finally looking up for 'Tasia now. Her VH1 reality show is a bona fide hit; she's through with her married ex, Antwaun Cook; she's up for three Grammys this weekend (and, according to Yahoo!'s Grammy expert Paul Grein, is predicted to win at least two of them); and now she's about to become a movie star, as she's been cast in the titular role in an upcoming Mahalia Jackson biopic.

Fantasia is not new to acting. She of course portrayed herself in the 2006 Lifetime movie Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, and played Celie in the Broadway musical The Color Purple. And let's face it, some of her reality show is probably scripted too. She was even up for the plum role of Effie in Dreamgirls, before it went to her Season 3 "Idol" castmate, future Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. But Mahalia Jackson truly seems like the part Fantasia was born to play.

The late, great Mahalia, who died in 1972 at age 60 from heart failure and diabetes complications, was a legendary gospel singer and civil rights activist who rose from poverty in New Orleans to become a major singing star and Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee. Her life story actually mirrors Fantasia's in some ways.

Fantasia's film will be based on the 1993 book Got To Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen Of Gospel and is expected to be out by December--just in time for Academy Award consideration. So, will Fantasia be the second "American Idol" contestant to win an Oscar? If she did, her comeback would truly be complete.

Check out Fantasia's gospel stylings here:


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