It may be Thanksgiving week across the country but the Christmas holiday has arrived in theatres a month early. “Black Nativity,” the holiday musical based on an original play by Langston Hughes and starring Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese and Jacob Latimore is out today.
The film offers a healing story of music and faith anchored solidly in the black Christian faith. It’s no wonder that Bishop T.D. Jakes was one of the film’s executive producers. He’s quickly developing another career as a filmmaker producing several films that are based in Christian principles.
“I don’t think there is a movie project that I’ve been involved in that I’m more proud of, “Jakes told Skip Cheatham, sitting in for Tom Joyner this week. “It turned out amazingly well and I think people are going to absolutely love it and walk away inspired.”
Using actors from the secular world as opposed to a host of gospel stars will surely help the box office receipts, but it may also bring more people into the theaters than would ordinarily go. And that’s obviously not a bad thing for Jakes, who is known not only to his followers but to many outside Christian circles as well.
“You can bring anybody. That’s the great thing about the movie. It’s something the whole family will enjoy but yet it’s not something that grown people will have to endure while the young people watch it. When you have starpower like Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett on the stage with Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese and Mary J. Blige with a very powerful newcomer like Jacob Latimore. I told people this is not a movie, it’s an experience and you really won’t understand it until you go see it.”
Writer/director Kasi Lemmons adapted the movie for the big screen. Lemmons, who also wrote and directed “Eve’s Bayou” has been working on the movie for years and it was her project even more than Jakes’ who came on after it was completed. He says he was just awed by it and wanted to be a part of it.
“I just wanted an opportunity to work with the cast and work with Kasi and so many wonderful people who were involved in it,” Jakes says. “But when it saw the final cut on the big screen, I was awed. I appreciate that I am blessed to be able to work with that kind of star power and those kind of giftings to project the message of our core values of family that survive adversity and have faith even under fire.”
“Black Nativity” is out in theaters today. You can also catch Bishop Jakes on BET on his talk show “Mind, Body and Soul” airing at 12 noon on Sundays.