AGS Student Performs in the Movie "Black Nativity"

AGS Student with Angela Bassett in "Black Nativity"

Eddie B. Sands, Jr., a current student in the OCU AGS Leadership and Ministry program, was busy juggling more than his academics last year. In November, 2012, he received a phone call from the world famous choreographer, Otis Sallid, who asked him to come to New York to participate in a feature film. A month later, he auditioned and was awarded a part singing in the choir in the newly released feature film, Black Nativity.

Upon receiving news that he had been selected for the part, Eddie wrote, “I was overcome with a sense of pride and accomplishment. It was a humbling but encouraging experience, which I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Black Nativity was originally written as a stage play by Langston Hughes. This musical drama adaptation, released November 27th, tells the story of a teenage son of a single mother from Baltimore who journeys to New York City to spend Christmas with relatives. Through some challenges from his grandfather, Reverend Cornell (Forest Whitaker), and some divine intervention, he finds the true meaning of family and faith. 

The newly released movie stars Academy Award winners and nominees such as Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Jennifer Hudson. Eddie cherished the experience of working with Hollywood celebrities for nine weeks: “They have become so valuable to me, giving me encouragement, discipline, and focusing skills.  They have changed my life forever, teaching me life lessons of humility, perseverance, longsuffering, and selflessness.” 

Eddie described the process of filming to be “grueling, yet at the same time, very rewarding.”  He explained, “Every morning when we began our rehearsals, I had the joy and honor to be under the direction of Contrella Kirkpatrick, Vocal Director/Choir Master/Star Vocal Coach, and much to my surprise, we began by praying, and we also had praise and worship. This was the spiritual foundation for the future success for this film, and this portion set the tone for our rehearsals and for future filming.”

Black Nativity reminds us, according to Eddie, of the reason Christ came and His purpose for all of our lives:  “God gave us His son because He wanted to restore a right relationship with His Children.”

By Dr. Krista Stonerock