"Black Nativity"

Galt Niederhoffer and Trudie Styler are producers. Raphael Saadiq is the music composer.

At first it seems that Forrest Whitaker and Angela Bassett do not look old enough to be grandparents (Black don’t crack for real) but they are. Forrest Whitaker, as Reverend Cornell Cobbs, has this awkward voice to bring the tough love but he is great in his delivery as always. Angela Bassett as Aretha is tender but sharpens her tongue when need be. Jennifer Hudson’s voice makes the walls melt honey and her performance, as a struggling single black mother is solid. Jacob Latimore, as Langston, is curious and hurt in his anger. He brings the plight of a young black man. Vondie Curtis Hall, as a Pawnbroker who is a guardian angel, was a nice to see onscreen in this film and makes sense because he is married to the director Kasi Lemmons.

The story is predictable, often confusing and all over the place but the music makes the film enjoyable. The problem was trying to make Langston Hughes’ words relevant for today when Hughes’ words will live forever. The delivery is often so stiff. Nas ahem Nasir Jones seemed so nervous in his acting instead of the suave poet we know he is. Tyrese was no stretch from previous roles but was good.