Black Nativity (2013)

blacknativity.sheila gross

This is an African American ensemble cast of actors that includes Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige,  Jacob Latimore, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Nas.  Black Nativity is a musical drama based on the play written by Langston Hughes. Screenplay adapted and directed by Kasi Lemmons. At first, when I watched the trailer, I was not that impressed. But a friend took me to see this film and I was glad that they did. The musical score helped uplift the connection to the audience. We can thank Raphael Saadiq for his amazing work on this film. The musical was well written, even-paced, dramatic and climactic in the right places. Each one of the actors was also well cast.

Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, and Jacob Latimore’s voices stood out the most. I have to admit, however; that I would definitely like to see more of Tyrese in musical films or on Broadway. I think this would be a great opportunity to show case his singing with acting.  I hope 2014 and 2015 includes more musicals. It’s a chance for both novice and professional actors/actresses to showcase a variety of talents. Overall, I think this film was very ambitious, but underappreciated by the masses.

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