There are some roles that are nearly impossible to turn down. For actors Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Aaron Pierre, they had the fortune of playing two giants of the civil rights movement in Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, respectively, in the latest instalment of Nat Geo’s running series ‘Genius’.

This latest season, entitled ‘Genius: MLK/X’ takes us back in time, offering a candid exploration into the lives of the two aforementioned activists, renowned for wanting the same thing, though doing so in different ways. We spoke to the two actors gifted with these roles and asked exactly how they prepare to play icons of this nature. They speak about the character’s differences, and their somewhat less publicised similarities.

Watch the full interview with Kelvin Harrison Jr. & Aaron Pierre here:


Setting the series apart from other retellings, GENIUS: MLK/X explores simultaneously the formative years, pioneering accomplishments, duelling philosophies and key personal relationships of both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and Malcolm X (Aaron Pierre). While King advanced racial equality through nonviolent activism, X advocated for Black empowerment, identity and self-determination. The eight-part series also brings their wives, Coretta Scott King (Weruche Opia) and Betty Shabazz (Jayme Lawson), to the forefront and shows them as formidable equals of the Movement. While King and X met only once and often challenged each other’s views, the two visionaries, with their wives leading by their sides, ultimately rose to pioneer a movement that lives on today.
Genius: MLK/X premieres on 3rd February at 9pm, with a double bill on National Geographic