Langston Hughes conceived of Black Nativity in the 1960s as a euphoric stage musical version of the birth of Jesus with a black cast. The show is still regularly performed as written, but writer/director Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me) chose to add material to create a more traditional narrative throughline for the feature adaptation. In the movie, a single Baltimore mother (Jennifer Hudson) sends her son Langston (newcomer Jacob Latimore) to stay with her estranged parents (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett) in New York City during the holidays. While there, Langston falls asleep in the Chistmas Eve sermon and dreams of a “Times Square Bethlehem.” Latimore says the songbook has something for everyone: “The music is just like the music nowadays. Some R&B, soulful gospel and a little rap before I go through my spiritual journey.”
To give you an idea of the tone: Mary J. Blige, sporting electrified blonde curls, plays a mysterious guardian angel character named “Platinum Fro.” That alone should compel you to check out the first images from Black Nativity after the jump.
Black Nativity opens November 27. Images via USA Today: