“A Nashville Legacy,” the new Mahogany feature from Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, centers on the sleuthing efforts of a Ph.D. student who risks a new romance to unearth the truth about her family’s musical legacy. Though celebrating the influence of Black popular music, the feel-good movie also gives a glimpse into controversies tied to its gospel-linked history.
The Mahogany movie premieres during the final weekend of Black History Month, fitting as the film highlights the impactful — and complicated — history of popular music by African American artists, specifically Black women. To underscore its focus, “A Nashville Legacy” was filmed at the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM). The NMAAM claims it is “the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans.”
“A Nashville Legacy” opens in the 1960s and eventually transitions viewers into the present, weaving it all together with a hit song of mysterious origins. The only ones who know the truth about the song and the girl groups behind it are either dead, sworn to silence, or too fearful to face the music. But those buried secrets are no match for Naima (Andrea Lewis), a new Nashville resident pursuing studies in ethnomusicology while also interning at a prominent museum. The Ph.D. student is determined to not only honor her grandmother’s legacy, but to ensure that everyone gets their flowers. An equally dogged love interest (Pooch Hall) commits to helping her uncover the truth, even if it means questioning his own family’s legacy — built on the shoulders of a legendary music producer (Stan Shaw).
But the truth, Naima eventually discovers, isn’t always black-and-white.
Without giving too much of the movie away, it can be said that “A Nashville Legacy” gives a glimpse into conflicts some singers with ties to the church faced in the ’50s and ’60s. It wasn’t uncommon for eventual famous Black artists to discover or hone their talents in front of a congregation, but some Christians thought the celebrated R&B, pop and even mainstream gospel songs they produced conflicted with the faith. Some popular examples include Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, The Edwin Hawkins Singers, and countless others. “A Nashville Legacy,” though fictional, gives a peek into some of these real-life conflicts and controversial music industry practices.
But, as fans of Hallmark Media likely expect, the Mahogany movie stays on-brand. Viewers can anticipate a 90-minute lighthearted story celebrating Black culture — that is also driven by secrets and romance.
You can watch “A Nashville Legacy” beginning February 26 at 7 p.m. ET on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. The fourth release from the new Mahogany franchise focusing on African American stories also stars Roz Ryan. Curt Chambers, Ruben Studdard, and The Shindellas make appearances. Roger M. Bobb (“A Christmas Fumble”) directed the movie, which was written by Randall Jahnson and Nina Weinman.