David Oyelowo Supports the Portrayal of Black Jesus in ‘The Book of Clarence’

Respected British actor David Oyelowo, known for his Golden Globe-nominated performances, has addressed criticisms regarding the Black depiction of Jesus in the forthcoming comedy-drama, ‘The Book of Clarence.’ In a conversation with MovieWeb, Oyelowo and his co-star Anna Diop responded to critics who have expressed discomfort with the idea of a Black Jesus or Black Santa Claus. Oyelowo invited these critics to reevaluate their perceptions and consider past portrayals of religious figures.

“Well, I just hope they were as offended by Charlton Heston as Moses and Robert Powell as Jesus. You know, that’s all I have to say. Jesus came for the entire world. And for us as Black people, you know, I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone just how much our culture, our race, has been impacted by Christianity as well. So this is our opportunity to tell our story through our perspective and our lens with our music, our bodies, our humor, and our accents. And anyone who doesn’t like it can go and watch Charlton Heston.”

Anna Diop, who shares the screen with Oyelowo, added her voice to his sentiments assertively, stating, “I second that.” The film, ‘The Book of Clarence,’ brings a fresh perspective to the iconic biblical narrative, featuring ‘For Life’ and ‘Django’ star Nicholas Pinnock as Jesus Christ. Oyelowo’s stern point serves to remind those upset with this version that other cinematic depictions, like Charlton Heston and Robert Powell, remain available.

‘The Book of Clarence’ Set to Debut in Theaters on Friday

Jeymes Samuel, the creative mind behind ‘The Harder They Fall’, directs ‘The Book of Clarence,’ a retelling of the historical Bible epic. The plot revolves around Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield), a street-savvy yet struggling individual looking for a better life for himself and his loved ones. The heart-tugging narrative follows Clarence’s path towards a divinely inspired life, where he discovers redemption, faith, power, and knowledge.

The ensemble cast includes Omar Sy as Barabbas, Anna Diop, RJ Cyler as Elijah, David Oyelowo as John the Baptist, Micheal Ward as Judas, Alfre Woodard as Mother Mary, Teyana Taylor as Mary Magdalene, and Nicholas Pinnock as Jesus Christ. The film also showcases new music from Jeymes Samuel, JAY-Z, Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi and others. Brought to you by TriStar Pictures and Legendary Pictures, ‘The Book of Clarence’ is due for nationwide theater release on January 12, 2024.

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