Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, “Black Nativity” is a contemporary, musical adaptation of Langston Hughes’ celebrated play of the same name. The story opens in Baltimore with a Naima (Jennifer Hudson), a single, working mom and her teen son, Langston (Jacob Latimore). After falling on hard times, Naima sends her son to Harlem to spend the Christmas holidays with her estranged grandparents Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett).
Aggravated by his grandfather’s rules, Langston is determined to find a way to get home to his mother. Along the way, Langston sets out on an unforgettable and inspirational journey of faith, redemption, healing and forgiveness.
“The movie is a lot about healing and the reconciliation in the family – and how we can lift each other up,” said Forest Whitaker. “It’s an important message of taking forgiveness to the next level.”
Angela Bassett echoed a similar sentiment, and said a film with forgiveness at its core is “very needed in this day and age.”
Black Nativity creates an emotional journey through music by blending gospel, hip-hop, soul and pop thanks in large part to the musical score by singer/musician Raphael Saadiq. Helping to bring Saadiq’s music to life with their performances are powerhouse singers Jennifer Hudson and Mary J. Blige. Nasir Jones and Tyrese Gibson – who gives a strong performance in the film – help round out the cast.
For older and younger generations who may be unfamiliar with the original play – the film’s director, Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) describes Black Nativity as an “homage to Langston Hughes.”
“There’s going to be a lot of our generation who’ve never heard of Langston Hughes, and won’t be aware of him until this movie,” said Gibson. “I feel honored to be a part of his legacy and what he stood for.”
Along with honoring Langston Hughes’ legacy, Black Nativity promises to be a musical event with a message for the whole family.
“Take the family to see it so you can get a word about forgiveness,” said Mary J. Blige. “There’s some great music, great singers, and the entertainment is amazing. It’s a great film.”