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Essence Black Women in Hollywood - Arrivals

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There is a new ‘Diana Ross’ in (Mo)town, and her name is Kat Graham. The “Collide” actress will play the legendary “Supremes” leader in the upcoming Michael Jackson biopic film, “Michael.”

Kat’s role as Diana will be integral to the overall storyline, which discusses Michael Jackson’s musical career from childhood on. As a standout star of Motown Records, Diana helped introduce Michael Jackson and the “Jackson 5” to the world when Michael was just nine.

Diana and Michael Jackson’s relationship was said to be intimate and evolving. In 2009, ABC reported that it was one of the most important in his life. He idolized Ross, and some said he attempted to emulate her. Others rumored that the two had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship despite their age gap.

Outside of rumors, the two made magic on stage. Michael and Diana often performed together and had undeniable chemistry. Their collective artistry and talent shined through.

Kat Graham steps into the ‘Motown limelight’

With this week’s announcement, Kat now has the monumental task of making this endearing relationship, time period, and dynamic powerhouse, who is Diana, come to life. And we can tell she’s up for the challenge. 

The 34-year-old actress celebrated the announcement of her role with an Instagram post, thanking colleagues for helping her land the part and describing Motown as a “pivotal era in our music history.”


Kat also has a personal and professional connection to soul music. As an experienced songstress, she’s belted out covers of Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson, performed with worldwide sensations like and the Black Eyed Peas, and released multiple albums. Most recently, she announced her new single, “World Song,” at the Billboard Women in Music event this winter.

The “Vampire Diaries” star also comes from a musical family. The Switzerland-born artist’s father was a music executive and is said to have been the godfather to Quincy Jones’ children.

RELATED: Kat Graham Debuts Unrecognizable New Identity ‘Toro Gato’

Kat’s new addition to the celebrity cast exemplifies the star power featured in the upcoming movie. Showrunners are packing the film with entertainment favorites and household names, which is only appropriate given Michael Jackson’s worldwide fame and lasting impact.

Larenz Tate has also been named to the cast. The “Love Jones” actor will play Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records. Other castmembers include Nia Long and Colman Domingo as Michael Jackson’s parents, Katherine and Joe Jackson, Liv Symone as ‘Gladys Knight,’ and Kendrick Sampson as Quincy Jones.


Kat Graham Wants To Change Hollywood’s Diluted Version Of The Black Actress

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For 2024’s iteration of MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful’s annual series Women to Know, we knew we wanted to celebrate the people who help make the joys of film and television possible. To create art is to create magic. This year, we spotlight Hollywood Executive’s changing the face of cinema.