December 22, 2020
The “White” celebrations of Christmas are ubiquitous for people of color. The Langston Hughes “Gospel Song Play” Black Nativity gives caucasians an opportunity to add a bit of color to their Christmas.
Black Nativity was first performed in 1961 at the York Theatre and then at President Kennedy’s International Jazz Festival. The production features an all-Black cast with well-known Christmas songs along with several that are much less familiar. Current stage productions of the Langston Hughes script are “based on” or “adapted from” the original text which is still available as a 40-page booklet.
This year Covid has altered plans for annual stage productions. Dominion Entertainment Group, Atlanta, GA, offers Black Nativity as a ticketed streaming event.
A 2013 movie named Black Nativity is a significant departure from the Langston Hughes script. The amount added and a redirected focus make it something quite different despite the use of some lines from the original and the inclusion of a church nativity play.
The above video clip of the song “Mary Did You Know” is from the Trinity Entertainment Group's Black Nativity.