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Kasi Lemmons Says "Black Nativity" Film Adaptation Still In Development & "It's Going To Be Dope"

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 24, 2011 5:01 AM
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Here's a project that's been in the works since 2009, when we first announced it. I'd forgotten all about it, and I'm surprised to learn that it's still in development, and not dead. At least that's what we can gather from the below quote from the director Kasi Lemmons, revealed in an interview with women-centered site, posted just yesterday.

But first, a recap...

In April 2009, it was announced that Langston Hughes' gospel musical Black Nativity (a retelling of the Bible's nativity story with an all-black cast and features traditional Christmas carols sung in gospel style) would be adapted for the big screen, with Kasi Lemmons writing and directing. At the time, Fox Searchlight was said to be fast-tracking the project for a possible Christmas 2009 release.

Well, obviously that didn't happen. So much for the "fast-track."

Fast-forward to today, just over 2 years later, and Lemmons reveals, when asked what she's currently working on: "A gospel musical titled, The Black Nativity. It's a film adaptation of the very slender book Langston Hues wrote in 1961. At the time it was very controversial. The story is about a kid from Baltimore whose mother has to send him to live with her estranged parents. He's dealing with people he didn't know including his grandmother who is a preacher; he falls in a deep sleep at church and dreams of the black nativity. It's going to be dope."

I hope so! But when might we eventually see this realized on screen? *Shrug* Your guess is as good as mine. Lemmons didn't say in the interview; though she does talk about a lot of other related items that you might find interesting and worth knowing, like the amount of power a woman with her track record actually wields in Hollywood, challenges she faces, her thoughts on distribution models, the state of blacks in cinema, and more. So, you can read the full interview by Miss Majek HERE.

As for the Black Nativity project... no casting has yet been announced. It's a musical, so, I won't at all be surprised to see some popular musicians in the cast. Maybe Beyonce for Mary?

**Ducking for cover***

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  • CareyCarey | June 27, 2011 10:54 AMReply

    Lordy lordy, what type of educated fools would be arguing (call it debating if you wish) over Cristianity, black Christians are so homophobic, religion that enslaved their ancestors, fairy tales, Orthodox Christianity and whose peeker is the longest? I mean, what kind of person steps on another man's religion?

    I have an idea?

  • Zeus | June 27, 2011 4:40 AMReply

    Lastly, Orthodox Christianity is practiced by blacks in North America, South America, Russia, Europe, etc., and those who are not darker skinned people.

    Just one of many links:

    Bless up.

  • Zeus | June 27, 2011 4:03 AMReply


    Agreed that Western Christianity is a deluded, shell of Orthodox Christianity. No argument there.

    However, it is completely not true that no blacks in the WORLD are practicing Orthodox Christianity (original Christianity).

    "The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 40 and 45 million, the overwhelming majority of whom live in Ethiopia, and is thus the largest of all Oriental Orthodox churches."

  • BluTopaz | June 26, 2011 10:51 AMReply

    @sonofbaldwin, is your screen name a reference to James Baldwin? Just curious because he's my favorite writer.

    I actually agree with you, this much devotion to a book of fairy tales is beyond tiresome. But I am glad to see very talented Kasi working on another major project, I will see the film to support her.

  • sonofbalwin | June 26, 2011 4:20 AMReply

    In a day and age where Christianity and oppression are synonymous, I'm proud to identify as anti-Christian.

    @Zeus: What was practiced in Ethiopia is NOT what African Americans, or any blacks in the world, are practicing now.

    For example, the god that the original Ethiopian Christians worshiped was half-woman and half-man. And the Ethiopians were completely clear on the fact that "Jesus" was simply a reinterpretation of the myth of Horus.

    What you so-called Christians are practicing now is simply the oppressor's interpretation of Christianity, which needs, just as it did when the slave master was whipping our ancestors' asses, someone to oppress.

    Why do you think black Christians are so homophobic?

  • JasonJee | June 26, 2011 2:30 AMReply

    I'm a little weary and wary of black folks who think we care they are anti-Christian.

  • Jay | June 25, 2011 7:25 AMReply

    I'm a HUGE fan of Kasi Lemmons work. She continues to be on my list of strong directors who can get consistently excellent performances.

    She is an amazing talent. Great visuals AND story sense.

    I'll be there whenever this comes together.

  • Zeus | June 25, 2011 1:34 AMReply

    @ sonofbaldwin

    Christianity started in Ethiopia. Europeans don't own it.

  • sonofbaldwin | June 24, 2011 11:45 AMReply

    Am I the only person a little weary (and wary) with how slavish black people are to the religion that enslaved their ancestors?

  • Kia | June 24, 2011 8:57 AMReply

    Read the interview and I'm smiling from ear to ear. Love to hear filmmakers emphasize the importance of the script as "queen". With Kasi Lemmons behind this project, I have faith in it... no matter who stars, but lets hope Kasi keeps to her trend of great casting.

  • JasonJee | June 24, 2011 5:46 AMReply

    I have seen the play several times this movie would be a must see for me.

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