Tag Archives: Jennifer Hudson

Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon & Wesley Snipes star in a New Clip from Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’

Courtesy of: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact
Written by Tambay A Obenson
20th Nov 2015




Amazon Studios has set the release date for Spike Lee’s much-discussed next joint, “Chi-Raq,” for December 4, 2015 in a theatrical release deal that involves both Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate (noteworthy as both have previously teamed up on prestige film fare).

The film’s cast includes rising star Teyonah Parris and multihyphenate and Nick Cannon, as well as lauded veterans like Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Wesley Snipes, and D.B. Sweeney. Singer/actress Jennifer Hudson also features.

“Chi-Raq” is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes. After the murder of a child by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata (played by Parris) organize against the on-going violence in Chicago’s Southside, creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.

Spike Lee directed the film from a screenplay he co-wrote with Kevin Willmott (writer and director of the woefully underseen 2004 mockumentary, “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America”) – an effort to shed light on the very serious, but often overlooked issue of violence in inner city Chicago.

At the time of the film’s pickup by Amazon Studios, Ted Hope, Head of Motion Picture Production, said, “Spike Lee is one of the most distinct and visionary filmmakers of our time. It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker with whom to launch our studio. He has a unique voice, a distinct eye, and he tackles important subjects with humor and heart, pointing to solutions and not exploiting the problems. ‘Chi-Raq’ may be his greatest, and definitely his boldest film yet–everything about it is distinctive.”

Spike Lee added: “I’m honored to be part of the film that will launch Amazon Studios and to tell a story that is so important. Please don’t be fooled by the title of ‘Chi-Raq.’ This new Spike Lee joint will be something very special.”

As noted, although it has yet to be released, the film has been at the center of much debate, at first over the use of the portmanteau “Chi-Raq” as its title, and currently, criticism of the still unseen film based solely on its recently-released trailer.

Spike Lee has been candid about all the controversy surrounding “Chi-Raq,” directly addressing the uproar, emphasizing that it is indeed a serious film – a work of satire that’s essentially designed to shake up the status quo: “People, this film is not a joke,” Lee has said repeatedly.

With December 4 looming, everyone will finally get to actually see “Chi-Raq” and hopefully then have informed discussions on its merits.

Ahead of its release, watch the official trailer for the film featuring Samuel L Jackson, Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon, Michelle Mitchenor, Jennifer Hudson, Harry Lennix, DB Sweeney, Angela Bassett and Wesley Snipes.





Hey to celebrate the UK release of the fantastic musical film “Black Nativity” starring Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson, Nasir ‘Nas’ Jones, Mary J Blige and Jacob Latimore we have some goodies to give-away to 5 lucky people.

Is your luck in – have a go and let’s see – and here’s wishing you the best!


Answer this question:

Q: Name 3 Black musical films in total that have been made since the early 1920’s to present?

Send your answer to us via email with Subject Heading ‘BN COMPETITION‘ to: info@kushfilms.com

(5 winners will be randomly chosen from a draw of correct answers; winners announced: Monday 23rd December).

* Only one entry per person; please abide by the rules

Film Review: Black Nativity

Written by Michael Dequina
Nov 2013 ©

I know you don’t believe a word I say, but today I’m not lying. I cannot forgive myself for what I did to you. Only you have the right to do that. But I hate myself, and I will keep hating myself as long as I live… ”

I hate making reductive comparisons, most especially in relation to  so-labelled urban films, as the mainstream movie media too often lazily and  ignorantly resorts to them. (Read, or better yet *don’t*, for instance,  any mixed-to-negative review of The Best Man Holiday to vividly illustrate my point.) That said, watching Kasi Lemmons’s holiday musical inspired by the Langston Hughes holiday perennial play Black Nativity couldn’t help but reinforce my feeling that Tyler Perry’s one key miscalculation in nearly all of his very loose film adaptations of his stage plays is the consistent choice to remove the song numbers. Not for nothing did he first build his fervent audience on the stage and that his theatre work still generally works a lot better than his work in other media (though he has shown growth): his plot lines and characters all generally operate in the realm of archetype, but once voices are raised in soaring, rafter-raising melodies, the broad narrative strokes are suddenly, powerfully infused with palpable, urgent emotion and genuine, relatable soul.

How does this relate to Black Nativity exactly? Lemmons adapts that approach quite effectively in a cinematic context for her take on the Hughes play, which in its original form for the stage is exactly what the title suggests: a more gospel-infused take on the Nativity story, and less of a set-in-stone libretto than a general guiding framework for any director and performance troupe to express their own individual creativity. Lemmons takes both principles to heart, crafting her own original story to contextualize an in-narrative production of Black Nativity–an original story that also falls within the traditional modern gospel play mold of a fairly simple, on-the-nose story. When her financial struggles become too much to bear, a single mom (Jennifer Hudson) in DC sends her teenage son (Jacob Latimore) to live with her estranged parents, a preacher (Forest Whitaker) and his prototypical church lady wife (Angela Bassett), in Harlem  for the holiday season.

On that most basic level, this isn’t anything new, a hugs ‘n healing holiday heart-warmer for the whole family. And while this is handily her most generally accessible film to date, Lemmons affirms her maverick status by boldly, unapologetically embracing the undiluted gospel play spirit on the screen in a way never quite fully done before, and from early on the results touch an intangible black-nativity-jacob-latimore-teaser640nerve the way any movie musical uniquely should. Hudson’s farewell to Latimore is a key emotional moment on its face, but it’s taken to a new level of weight with the heartbreaking ballad (one of a number of original compositions by Raphael Saadiq, in collaboration with Lemmons), and the rest of the film follows suit. Whether they be quieter moments like a gorgeously harmonized duet-across-distance between Hudson and Bassett or more elaborate pieces like a full-blown Nativity play production number that beautifully incorporates one of Hughes’s major stage hallmarks–dance–or my personal favourite number, the at once contemporary and classic “Hush Child (Get You Through the Night),” performed by Hudson, Latimore, and Grace Gibson and Luke James (as the modern day Mary and Joseph avatars), even the must programmatic of scenes and plot points are taken to an elevated plane by the passion of and in the music.

But like its genre counterparts on the stage, the film remains decidedly earthbound when it is not literally singing.  Thankfully the presence and abilities of solid actors such as Whitaker (who reveals a stunningly smooth singing voice), Bassett, Hudson, and promising newcomer Latimore lend the proceedings some real grounding even when Lemmons’s script falls into more contrived, conventional, and/or melodramatic trappings, particularly in its overblown non-sung climax of uber-dramatic reveals and confrontations.  But for all the bluster of those moments, what drowns them out and lingers more strongly in the memory and heart is, as it should be, the sweet, celebratory sensation of song.


Read Michael Dequina’s other reviews at:

Black Nativity Hits UK Cinemas – Friday 6th December 2013

Fox Searchlight Pictures announces UK release date for


Starring Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jacob Latimore, Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige and Nasir ‘Nas’ Jones.

BLACK NATIVITY will be released in the UK by Fox Searchlight on 6 December 2013. A contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes’ celebrated play, BLACK NATIVITY is an uplifting, seasonal story told through soulful sounds of gospel music, and brought to you by a lineup of R&B superstars. The story unfolds as Langston (Jacob Latimore), a street-wise teen from Baltimore, journeys to New York City to spend Christmas with his estranged relatives Reverend Cornell (Forest Whitaker) and Aretha Cobbs (Angela Bassett). Unwilling to live by the imposing Reverend Cobbs’ rules, a frustrated Langston is determined to return home to his struggling single mother, Naima (Jennifer Hudson). Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing, and family.

Award winning director and writer Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me, Eve’s Bayou, The Caveman’s Valentine) shines at the helm of this festive urban musical. BLACK NATIVITY stars a talented ensemble cast of artists and actors, including award winning singer Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, Sex in the City), Academy® Award winner Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Vantage Point, The Butler), Angela Bassett (Malcolm X, Meet The Robinsons), recording artist Jacob Latimore (The Maze Runner), Tyrese Gibson (Fast and Furious, Transformers), GRAMMY winner Mary J. Blige (Rock of Ages), and hip hop star Nasir ‘Nas’ Jones.


Watch Trailer:


See Selected Cinemas:

Theatre Name
AMC Manchester 16
Cineworld (The O2) 11
Cineworld Aberdeen 10
Cineworld Ashton 14
Cineworld Birm Broadst 12
Cineworld Bolton 15
Cineworld Bradford 16
Cineworld Cardiff 15
Cineworld Castleford 14
Cineworld Crawley 15
Cineworld Dublin 17
Cineworld Enfield 15
Cineworld Falkirk 12
Cineworld Feltham 14
Cineworld Glasgow Renf 18
Cineworld High Wycombe 12
Cineworld Ilford 11
Cineworld Luton 11
Cineworld Milton Keynes 16
Cineworld Newport 13
Cineworld Nottingham 14
Cineworld Shaftesbury 7
Cineworld Sheffield 20
Cineworld Staples Cnr 6
Cineworld Stevenage 16
Cineworld Wandsworth 14
Cineworld Wolverhampton 14
Cineworld Wood Green 12
Empire Basildon 18
Empire Newcastle 16
Empire Poole 16
Empire Slough 10
Empire West End 8
Movie House City Side Belfast 14
Odeon Birmingham Broadway Plaza 10
Odeon Birmingham New St 8
Odeon Bradford 13
Odeon Greenwich 14
Odeon Holloway 8
Odeon Kingston 14
Odeon Lee Valley 12
Odeon Streatham 8
Odeon Surrey Quays 9
Odeon Trafford Centre 20
Odyssey Belfast 12
Omniplex Lisburn
Omniplex Mahon Point
Peckham Multiplex 6
Premiere Cinemas 8
Safari Harrow
Showcase Bluewater 12
Showcase Bristol 14
Showcase Bristol De Lux 13
Showcase Coventry 14
Showcase Derby De Lux 12
Showcase Dudley 14
Showcase East Glasgow 14
Showcase Leeds 16
Showcase Leicester De Lux 12
Showcase Liverpool 12
Showcase Manchester 14
Showcase Nantgarw 12
Showcase Newham 14
Showcase Nottingham 13
Showcase Paisley 14
Showcase Peterborough 13
Showcase Reading 12
Showcase Stockton 14
Showcase Walsall 12
Vue Acton 9
Vue Croydon Grants 10
Vue Croydon Pw 8
Vue Dagenham 9
Vue Harrow 12
Vue Leeds Light 14
Vue Portsmouth 14
Vue Romford 16
Vue Shepherds Bush 12
Vue Star City Birmingham 25
Vue Thurrock 9
Vue Westfield Stratford 17
Vue Wood Green 6