The Music of Black Nativity

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Black Nativity, a modernized adaptation of Langston Hughes’ celebrated play, follows a Baltimore teenager as he comes to New York City to spend Christmas with his estranged relatives. Gospel numbers serve as the core of the musical film, so director Kasi Lemmons brought on Grammy Award winning music producer Raphael Saadiq to donate his musical expertise.

Lemmons wrote lyrics throughout the script, “but it was Raphael Saadiq who transformed those lyrics into songs.” Saadiq channeled Lemmons’ characters and thematic structures, creating a beautiful score that heightens the story of Black Nativity.

A 70s gospel style shines throughout the film in both classic and brand new songs. It was a challenge, Black Nativity being his debut as a film scorer, but Saadiq and the cast managed to create incredible renditions of songs like “Be Grateful,” “He Loves Me Still,” and more. The musical film’s success lies not only in its heart wrenching drama, but its emotional and gorgeous music.

By Amanda Saiewitz