When Christ and Art Come Together
Kasi Lemmons is an actress and director, best known for her direction of the 1997 film Eve's Bayou and A Caveman's Valentine. She also played in the classic film The Five Heartbeats as well as roles in Murder She Wrote and ER. She attended NYU's Tisch School of Arts, UCLA and New School for Social Research, exemplifying the importance of education. Only directing four films in her 20+ year career and being fed up with the lack of decent roles for African American women in hollywood, she has journeyed out to direct what will be one of the most memorable holiday films ever made. She is married to actor Vondie Curtis-Hall, who is featured in Black Nativity, and they have two children. Congratulations, Kasi!
Back to the Basics
Having left my flash drive in Chicago and my computer no longer wanting to turn on, I had to resort to using ancient tools to write the rough draft of this review; pen and paper. I was not going to let my dependency on technology keep me from writing this article. Who needs a "save as" button when ink and trees still work so well together? I was not about to miss the opportunity to share with you my experience at a Black Nativity.
I honestly had no intention to see this film. I had seen the many commercials and could only think "but what is it about?" All I saw were familiar faces and a bunch of singing. Now, for those who know me know I am a sucker for a good musical but the trailers weren't giving me enough. Then Bishop T.D. Jakes and singer Tyrese started flooding my Instagram timeline with pictures encouraging people to go see this film. "So, you saw this film because Bishop Jakes and Tyrese said so?" No, not at all. I still wasn't persuaded. It wasn't until my non-movie-going father called me that my interest was peaked. "Melody, I took your advice and went to the movies." I was super excited! I asked had he gone to see 12 Years A Slave because that was the only movie I had begged him to go see. To my surprise, he said he went to see Black Nativity. "Say what, daddy? What made you want to see that?" It seemed that the trailer was good enough for him. In the midst of watching the news, the trailer comes on which caused him to hop off the couch and go to the movies! Not even 30 minutes later, I see my aunt who lives in Las Vegas share with all of Facebook how great the movie was. I then said, "ok, now, I'm ready to see this film."
It is Thanksgiving Day and there are four people in this theatre. Being that it is noon on Thanksgiving day, it did not bother me that the theatre was dang near empty (plus, who doesn't like having an empty theatre to themselves). I had no idea what to expect from this film but I left with a smile and a new wave of gratefulness. This film stars Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson, Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett, Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blidge, Grammy Award nominees Tyrese Gibson and Nasir Jones and up-and-coming star Jacob Latimore. Basically, this film has some heavily talented people who help make it special. I know many people choose not to read my reviews because they have yet to see the movies and don't want any spoilers. That's not my style though; I don't' spoil surprises.
If you are like me, let me tell you what this film is about. Black Nativity is about a young, single mother working to keep a roof over her and her son's head. Hard times hit and she is forced to send her son to stay with her parents, whom she hasn't spoken to since before her son, Langston, was born. Langston knows no one in his family and is suprised when he finds out the secrets and lies that has kept him from knowing the truth.
"Here we go, another "black" film with all that singing! Naw, I'll pass." What I will say about this film is this: If you are a part of a family, go see this film. If you are a parent, go see this film. If you are a single parent, go see this film. If you consider yourself to be a motherless child, go see this film. If you have ever made a detrimental mistake in your life, go see this film. If you are in need of forgiveness or you have someone you have yet to forgive, GO SEE THIS FILM!
What I enjoyed the most about this film was that it wasn't just a movie, it was art. It was like watching a broadway play on the big screen. The actors and actress portrayed so much power in the portrayal of their stories. In this film, there was many layers; it was story upon story upon story, all told through dialogue, song and dance. The creativity in this film is so thick you can carve it like your Thanksgiving turkey. The spirit and story of Christ mixed with the souls of Langston Hughes and Kasi Lemmons gives us the unique film that is Black Nativity. Written by Walter Hawkins, one of the most powerful songs of the film is displayed below. Press play and keep reading.
Does This Article Peak Your Interest in the Film
This time of year brings out the best in us. We become overwhelmed with the spirit of giving and love and nothing seems more important than the gift of family. For those who are blessed with much, Be Grateful. It could be gone tomorrow. For those who may have close to nothing or no one, Be Grateful. It's not over yet and your time is coming. If you need help getting through this holiday season and your faith in God, family, friends and life is down to its last drop, I encourage you to let this film do what Langston Hughes intended for it to do; go be uplifted, encouraged and strengthened through art, song, dance and the Nativity story.