Gina Prince Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood refuse to choose between the “Genius” of MLK and Malcolm X

Produced by Robin Estrin

(L-R) Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Toussaint Bythewood and Cassius Bythewood pose at the National Geographic premiere event for the anthology series "Genius: MLK/X.” Photo credit: Billy Bennight/AdMedia/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

National Geographic's Genius anthology series has historically focused on one genius at a time, but when Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood were asked to create a series about Martin Luther King Jr., they came up with the idea of weaving in the story of another civil rights-era icon: Malcolm X. 

“Martin and Malcolm were very pivotal, and we're often told that we have to choose between the two of them,” says Reggie Rock Bythewood. “We wanted to take on that challenge and dispel that sort of point of view.”

To Gina Prince-Bythewood, it felt especially urgent to tell their stories now.

“You see what's happening with our history being rewritten and erased, and DEI being abolished and outlawed. I mean, it's a very dangerous time, and that's absolutely reflected in our industry,” she says.

The husband-and-wife duo talk about the challenge of dramatizing the lives of two towering historical figures, who met just one time in their storied lives. Plus, they discuss some of the injustices they’ve faced in their three-decade careers in Hollywood.




Kim Masters


Robin Estrin