Being a self-proclaimed in-the-shower, driving-in-the-car, riding-in-the-elevator singing sensation; Black Nativity is the perfect film for a person who always seems to have a song in their heart. Of course, not everyone is the humming type, but don’t worry, this musical-drama still manages to offer up an engaging enough plot to keep all viewers captivated.
Here are five reasons why everyone should see “Black Nativity” in theaters, (even those of you who can’t hold a note if your life depended on it.)
1. The Cast The film centers around a teenager named Langston played by Jacob Latimore, who is sent to spend Christmas with his mother Naima’s (Jennifer Hudson) estranged parents, Naima ran away from her family after her father, Harlem Rev. Cornell Cobbs (Forest Whitaker) disapproved of her teenage pregnancy. Her mother is Aretha Cobbs (Angela Bassett), who is loving but stands faithfully in her husband’s decisions. The cast also stars Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige, Nasir “Nas” Jones, and budding R&B star Luke James.
The stars of the film are relatable and their emotions transcend the screen, especially Latimore, who is able to draw you in and get you to feel his pain and anger throughout. It’s easy to see yourself in the characters, as they each struggle with the good and bad of their personalities.
2. The Message
The three F’s: forgiveness, faith, and family are the overwhelming themes in Black Nativity. In the first five minutes, it’s evident that family is important but we learn early on that sometimes love isn’t enough to keep people together.
3. The Set
Whether it was the creaky sounds from the wooden floors of a Harlem brownstone to the details of African-American art on the walls; the film’s set perfectly recreated the stark reality of Harlem’s dirty beauty. Capturing both the grunge of the city and the history of black prominence stemming from the Harlem Renaissance.
4. The Music
The songs will have you have tapping your feet and moving in your seat. With a blend of soulful songs and gospel, the music in the film does not bear down the viewer; instead, it is useful tool used to pull the emotions out of the viewer. It’s hard not to well up while listening to Hudson’s powerful voice as tries to overcome her financial burdens in the film.
5. Support Black Art
The film is written and directed by Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”) and was inspired by literary pioneer Langston Hughes‘ 1961 musical “Black Nativity.” Bishop T.D. Jakes is also one of the film’s executive producers.
Have you seen Black Nativity? Did you like it?