I guarantee you that nothing makes my mother’s heart melt more than the treasured holiday program at my elementary school. To her it represents the true spirit of the season, distilled in the precious voices of little people singing about God and Santa, reindeer and the principles of Kwanzaa. In a holiday season wrought with the anxiety about buying the “perfect” gift or out-decorating the Jones’, how often do you get that type of true joy? Where can you find those redemptive tales that are packaged so sweetly, just in time for Jesus’ birthday? Most importantly, wouldn’t it be dope if there was an annual holiday revue by our favorite soul artists?
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What would that even look like? Definitely not like that Chris Brown/Loretta Devine/Regina King flick This Christmas that dropped a few years ago — them ain’t Loretta’s “children” — but something more in the vein of a musical but with artists playing the well-known and loved holiday characters. Like A Christmas Carol, but with black folks. And singing, of course.
So let’s map this out, shall we? Our characters in A SoulBounce Christmas Carol would be as follows:
Ebenezer Scrooge – Ice cold blood runs through his veins. The perfect person for this role would be the one and only Phonte Coleman. He’d be able to deliver the exact right of amount of hateration, but balance it with wit to make the show comical. And he’d probably relish the role.
Jacob Marley – I envision another rapper in this slot. Common is a great story teller and could definitely do Jacob’s ghost justice.
The Ghost of Christmas Past – This would definitely be a woman. She would have to embody the sweetness of Scrooge’s youth. I vote for Jill Scott.
The Ghost of Christmas Present – Cee-Lo Green the soul machine. He has a peculiarly jolly frame and voice, but you get the feeling he could turn ominous at the drop of a dime, like a Texas summer storm. You need that type of dynamic.
The Ghost of Christmas Future – Hmm…this one would have to be an older singer, someone that can give drama and put Scrooge on game. Preferably someone that wears gators and dyes their hair, tell-tale signs of an OG. I vote for Charlie Wilson or Ronald Isley.
Bobbi Cratchit – Tiny Tim’s parent would be a woman in this version, and she would definitely be played by Taraji P. Henson. The struggle TPH exuded in her eyebrows alone singing “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” in Hustle & Flow is evidence enough that she would be perfect for this.
Tiny Tim – So this isn’t really feasible at all, but I would go back in time and get 1970’s Michael Jackson to play the innocent who warms our hearts in this holiday tale. You can’t listen to any of the J5 holiday songs without 1) wondering why Jehovah Witnesses are singing carols and 2) reflecting on how incredibly well Joe Jackson extracted good sangin’ out of his children.
So while you’re at your annual employee Christmas party judging your boss’ ugly sweater and wondering what exactly your co-worker put into her cheeseburger pie, consider what Christmas (or Hannukah, or Festivus) story you would like your favorite artists to do. Maybe SoulBounce can swindle convince some of them to do a hip-hop soul version of it. Next year, that is.