August 18, 2006 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
American Idol winner and Grammy-nominated recording artist Fantasia stars as herself in “The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life is Not a Fairy Tale,” a Lifetime Original Movie Event inspired by her #1 New York Times best-selling autobiography, Life is Not a Fairy Tale, that follows the journey of the American Idol winner, a teenage single mother who overcame poverty and illiteracy by using her incredible voice to rise to national prominence. “The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life is Not a Fairy Tale” airs in a special three-night premiere on Saturday, August 19 at 9PM, Sunday, August 20 at 8PM and Monday, August 21 at 9PM on Lifetime Television.
Prolific actress Loretta Devine (“Dreamgirls,” “Crash,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) stars as Fantasia’s grandmother, Addie Collins; Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Viola Davis (“Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” “Antwone Fisher,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) plays Fantasia’s mother, Diane Barrino; and Kadeem Hardison (“A Different World,” “Biker Boyz,” “One on One”) portrays Fantasia’s father, JoJo Barrino. Newcomer Jamia Simone Nash (“My Wife and Kids”) takes on the role of young Fantasia. Acclaimed Emmy and Golden Globe -winning choreographer, actress and director Debbie Allen (“Fame,” “Girlfriends”) directs the film.
Before she ever captured the hearts and votes of millions to become the winner of American Idol, Fantasia Barrino had little to celebrate in her life. As the youngest child of Diane and JoJo Barrino, Fantasia experienced a complicated childhood, had low self-esteem and eventually dropped out of school in her early teens. With little education, money or chance of a real future, Fantasia found herself in a loveless relationship that left her pregnant at 16 with no one to turn to for help.
The birth of her daughter Zion was the catalyst for Fantasia to rethink her choices and redirect her life. With the encouragement of friends and family, Fantasia took a leap of faith to audition for the hot television show American Idol and quickly won over the judges and audiences with her sassy style and extraordinary voice. Her powerful singing made her an instant sensation and changed her life forever.
“The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life is Not a Fairy Tale” is part of Lifetime’s long-standing commitment to raising awareness, encouraging action and empowering viewers to get involved in the causes affecting women and their families. Fantasia’s story highlights her courage in overcoming many obstacles to achieve her dream, including, at times, struggling to read lyrics. Today, more than 30 million Americans share this challenge, having such low literacy that they have difficulty reading a children’s book. To inspire viewers to help others or themselves improve reading skills, Lifetime will air a PSA with Fantasia Barrino immediately following the film’s premiere. In addition, the Network is partnering with leading nonprofit organizations such as Girls Inc., the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the National Center for Family Literacy, RAINN (which operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline) and the YWCA of the USA, to develop an online film discussion guide offering additional information on many of the issues Fantasia has faced and providing resources on how viewers can make a difference in their own communities.
“The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life is Not a Fairy Tale” is produced by Ostar Productions for Lifetime Television. Bill Haber (“Nightmares & Dreamscapes,” “Uprising”) and Robert Green (“Wild Fires,” “Waiting”) serve as executive producers and Ellyn Williams (Lifetime Television’s “Hunger Point”) co-executive produced. John McMahon (“Nightmares & Dreamscapes”) produced the movie and Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer Keith Glover wrote the teleplay inspired by the autobiography Life is Not a Fairy Tale by Fantasia.