On April 11, 2020, the Lifetime Movie Network premiered, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel. The Clark Sisters movie, executive produced by Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, and Mary J. Blige takes us through the journey of one of the biggest female Gospel groups in the history of Gospel music – a movie, that to many, may have been long overdue. In fact, according to A+E Networks News, the Clark Sisters movie debuted as the highest-rated Lifetime original film, with around 2.7 million total viewers.
The Clark Sisters – Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark, Dorinda Clark Cole, Jacky Clark Chisholm, Karen Clark Sheard, and Denise Clark Bradford, were born and raised in Detroit, Michigan by Dr. Mattie Moss Clark – a choir director and a Gospel vocalist herself. Growing up, Dr. Clark implanted the passion of music and the love of God into her daughters – so much so, that the Clark Sisters eventually won three Grammy awards for Best Traditional Gospel Album, Best Gospel Performance, and Best Gospel Song; however, the songs they are probably most known for are, “Is My Living In Vain,” “You Brought the Sunshine” and “Blessed and Highly Favored.”
Nonetheless, the story about the Clark Sisters who fought through many trials, several heartbreaks, and heartaches, is a musical biopic that came together through a talented cast – specifically those who portrayed the original Clark Sisters (Kierra Sheard, Raven Goodwin, Sheléa, Angela Birchett, and Christina Bell), and the matriarch of the family, (Aunjanue Ellis).
So, if you haven’t seen the Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel yet, we have put together five facts that we think you should know:
Five Facts About the First Ladies of Gospel:
- Family Ties – The Clark Sisters movie features Karen Clark Sheard’s daughter, Kierra Sheard, who actually plays her in the movie. It’s clear that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree as Kierra Sheard’s voice is just as angelic and powerful as her mother’s. Like Karen, Kierra is making a name for herself as a gospel recording artist, and I’m totally here for it. She released her new album, KIERRA on April 17, 2020.
- And Then There Were Four – While it’s true that the Clark Sisters Gospel group started out with five sisters, Denise, the second eldest, left the group in 1986. Having gotten pregnant out of wedlock, Denise was fed up with having to defend her decision to keep her kids (you’ll see the emotional breakdown in the movie). However, after Denise departed the group, the four remaining sisters went on to release a number of albums.
- The Clark Sisters Reunite – The Clark Sisters are very much still active and doing their music thing— whether pursuing their own solo careers or collaborating for performances like the one at Aretha Franklin’s funeral, it’s clear that they still got it! Listen to their performance below as they sing one of their greatest hits, “Is My Living in Vain.”
- A Mother’s Love Truly is Unconditional – One thing that viewers can expect to take away from this movie is a mother’s fight to protect her daughters through thick and thin and to instill in them the true value of family. Mattie Clark discovered something that her girls were good at and she fought to ignite that passion within them as well. She knew that one day they would become something special, even if at the time, they didn’t see it in themselves.
- Long Overdue Album Released in 2020 – The Clark Sisters came together again in 2020 to release their latest album, The Return – a fitting title seeing as though their last album was released in 2009. Their new album is now available on all digital platforms and features Snoop Dogg on a track called, “His Love”, with producer credits to Jermaine Dupri, Rodney Jerkins, and Warryn Campbell to name a few. I don’t know about you all, but I’m excited that these ladies are back in the studio and making that good ole’ Gospel music that’s good for the soul.
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