(SingleBlackMom.wordpress.com) – Jennifer Hudson is one of the stars in the upcoming holiday film, “Black Nativity.” In the movie, Hudson plays Naima, who became pregnant with her son, Langston (a nod to the writer of the play on which the film is based, Langston Hughes), when she was just 15 and goes back home to visit her religious family for Christmas.
The actress and singer spoke about the universal message in the movie. “We’re telling a story that — so many are going through this,” Hudson said. “I hope that, if nothing else, they don’t feel alone and they feel like there’s someone out there that understands what they’re going through. And hopefully they can be inspired and get through it.”
Singer-actor Tyrese Gibson is part of the star-studded cast in the holiday film, “Black Nativity.“ The movie also stars Forest Whitaker, and Angela Bassett, and is based on a play by Langston Hughes.
Central to the plot is the story of Naima (played by Hudson), who became pregnant with her son, Langston (Jacob Latimore), when she was just 15. The troubled teen goes to visit his religious grandparents (played by Whitaker and Bassett) for Christmas. The score, which mixes spiritual tunes with holiday standards, is at the core of the film’s appeal.
Gibson, who calls his participation “an answered prayer,” professed a deep connection to the music in the movie. ”I know they’re calling it a musical,” Gibson saif. “I feel like there were certain things that are in this movie that should not have been reduced to just words, and there’s nothing that moves you like music… especially when it’s anchored in spirituality.”
“Black Nativity” opens on Wednesday, November 27.
This year has seen a remarkable demonstration of the emergence of a potent new African-American audience. Studios always recognized that certain action movies and irreverent comedies would attract black moviegoers. But the success of Lee Daniels’ The Butler and the strong opening weekend performance of The Best Man Holiday have upended all of Hollywood’s assumptions. Fox Searchlight may well add to this winning streak when Black Nativity opens this week. Based on Langston Hughes’ popular musical fable, this holiday extravaganza with an all-star cast has a lot of failings. But it seems likely to tap into the audience’s enthusiasm for uplifting entertainment.
Hughes originally wrote his play in the 1950s. Writer-director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Talk to Me) has updated it but kept the Harlem setting and some of the musical motifs. Because of economic hardship, a teenage boy named Langston (Jacob Latimore) is forced to leave his mother (Jennifer Hudson) and go to live with his grandparents (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett), whom he has never really met. His grandfather is a prominent minister as well as a stern taskmaster. Langston is tempted by the criminal underworld in Harlem and initially repelled by the stern moral precepts of his grandfather, who rejected the boy’s mother years earlier. It’s not too hard to predict that the Christmas holidays will melt hard hearts and bring this long estranged family back together.