BLACK NATIVITY is the musical interpretation of playwright Langston Hughes’ classic tale performed in holiday pageants across the country for decades, now a feature film musical with a fresh contemporary veneer.
This on screen version from FOX Searchlight Pictures opening November 27th is a stylized account of a family in turmoil, set in New York, guided by the discerning hands of filmmaker Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Talk To Me).BLACK NATIVITY is a timely holiday tale centered on faith and forgiveness.
We hosted a screening in Oakland, CA. The packed auditorium showed their approval with roaring applause.
The story touches and warms the heart; the music is extraordinary and layers this 90-minute portrayal– poised to be a sweet sentimental classic– with the gift of Raphael Saadiq’s genius and mastery of scoring a soundtrack more affecting that any of recent memory.
Saadiq, of 80s boy band Tony Toni Tone fame, has a distinguished solo career as a singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He has also been featured on several chart topping sound tracks, now he’s charting the course, serving as music producer for BLACK NATIVITY’s sound track.“It’s feels good. I mean, I knew it was going to be a challenge because I’ve never dealt with a studio for a full film project; that was probably the scariest thing for me, just to be able to shut my mouth, most of the time and don’t say anything. I did it for about 90% of the time (laughter).
“On this film project, nobody really knew about music like me so I had a lot of free room; Kasi (Lemmons) kind of directed me and felt it was good. I’ve worked with Spike, I worked with John Singleton, worked on epic animation projects but this was the whole movie. When Kasi asked if I would score it, I said, yes. But I didn’t really know if I could do it.
“I came in very humble and told everybody I’m basically in school, if you want to say anything to me, hit me in my head, just tell me. I finally let somebody listen to it (the score) before it came out; a friend said, ‘This could be a holiday classic…’so I welcomed the challenge.
I thought I knew a lot about Langston Hughes, but, now I know more. Now, I feel closer to Harlem.”