Shabazz was on his way to Tehran, Iran to attend a conference on Hollywoodism, which is in its third year. Little information regarding Malcolm Shabazz’s arrest because the FBI is refusing to release any details about where Shabazz is being held and why he was placed under arrest in the first place. The Hollywoodism International Conference welcomes activists, filmmakers, and scholars from around the world to discuss global cinema and how it’s used by different countries to push their nationalistic views on the rest of the world.
Malcolm Shabazz’s arrest came on the night the Lifetime film “Betty & Coretta” premiered. The movie starred Angela Bassett as the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Betty Shabazz was played by the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige. “Betty & Coretta” follows the friendship forged between the two women after their civil rights leader husbands were assassinated. Both families have showed their displeasure with the project because they say they weren’t consulted about the project before it began production.
Ilyasah Shabazz has been the most vocal about the film’s holes. She gave an interview to The Washington Post, saying her mother Betty Shabazz was “regal, compassionate, strong, loving, beautiful, resilient and well-educated” despite the fact Mary J. Blige played the character as meek and insecure. Ilyasah went on to say the wardrobe was also wrong, claiming Betty Shabazz never wore a scarf around her face.
According to The Washington Post, an unidentified A&E employee said the reason why neither of the families were consulted was to avoid any bias toward one particular family. The Shabazz family became angry with how the film showed Betty’s death. Malcolm Shabazz did start the fire when he was 12 years old. However, Betty Shabazz didn’t use her last dying breath to call Coretta Scott King like the movie suggests. They say that’s impossible due to the fact she sustained third-degree burns over most of her body.
Peep Malcolm Shabazz talking about the fire that killed his grandmother.