There’s great expectation to hear what Chris Rock will say at this year’s Academy Award ceremony given the lack of color among the 2016 nominees. The outrage over the exclusion of people of color from the nominee process, for the second straight year, has caused the #OscarsSoWhite to start trending on Twitter.
Well, here’s a story Chris Rock should be talking about. It’s about the first true Christmas movie of color. In fact, it’s just not a Christmas movie — it’s a complete holiday movie, as well. Originally a screenplay, the script’s writer converted his screenplay, titled ‘Twas, into a book because Hollywood just doesn’t think its time for a Kwanzaa movie.
In this story, the author has magically re-imagined Santa Claus to match today’s multicultural American.
What’s that mean?
Saint Nick appears and reappears in many forms as he unknowingly morphs from Kris Kringle to “Compton Claus” to “Sheng Dan Lau Ren” to “Papa Noël” and back again, depending of who’s in the “Hood”.
Maybe even Chris Rock could star as “Compton Claus”? How about Jackie Chan as an Asian Santa or George Lopez as Pancho Claus? Maybe even Cheech and Chong could play the role, respectively.
So, what’s ‘Twas about?
‘Twas is a warmhearted family-oriented multicultural novel, about a down-and-out dad, who screws up Christmas and tries to make it right — during the Festival of Kwanzaa.
The story begins on Christmas Eve in Compton and Darryl Blueberry, down-and-out dad, swipes a bag of toys from a Santa to give to his son. Unfortunately, Darryl just robbed the real Santa Claus!
Unable to finish his Christmas deliveries, Ole Saint Nick pursues this holiday hood then prescribes a compromising cure for this Yuletide dilemma: Darryl must finish Santa’s missed L.A. area rounds — and do so during the Festival of Kwanzaa.
Discovering the reality of Santa, and then receiving the tools of success to complete such a magical task might be a humbling assignment for most — but not for Darryl Blueberry.
Instead, Darryl looks at this new challenge as an edge on his competition with his ex-wife’s boyfriend, Duane, an elementary school principal.
To regain the approval of his son and win back the love and loyalty of his ex-wife, Darryl redefines Kwanzaa then modifies his appointed task by turning Kwanzaa into a commercial celebration.
Soon, this plan backfires…
Commercialization not only destroys the spirit of Kwanzaa, but it corrupts his relationship with his son and ex-wife, Monica, as well! As life spins beyond his control, Darryl has a change of heart, then spends the last night of Kwanzaa trying to right the wrong he has created.
It’s a great story which would make an even better movie!
But don’t take my word that this is the right pix at the right time. Here’s what playwright/producer, John “Rusty” Proctor said about ‘Twas.
Over the past 10 years or so, I have had the pleasure of reading many of James Henry’s (I call him JDob) books, stories and screenplays and I always feel good after reading his work. He makes me laugh with his style and also always challenges me to think. He is extremely intelligent and I am always amazed by all that he knows and what a curious learner he is. So much so, that it didn’t surprise me at all to hear that he had merged together the age-old story of Santa Claus and the more recent tradition of Kwanzaa introduced into the African American culture by professor Maulana Karenga.
The two celebrations are very different in their expressions; Christmas is a one day celebration while Kwanzaa takes place over seven days. However, as the author points out in the story – “Christmas used to be twelve days long”. The two celebrations fit well together as you will see.
Perhaps the first words you will read are these and I therefore want to make sure that I emphasize the value of this story for you and for your family. Knowing how valuable this story that I am describing is makes me want to be sure that I treat the description as carefully as any of us would with any of the other items mentioned above. So, here it is…
This is a fabulous story of wonderment, surprises and the magic of the Christmas spirit for ALL. This story is a multicultural romp through Los Angeles streets (and rooftops) that is set against the background and lessons of the celebration of Kwanzaa and it’s guiding principles (the Nguzo Saba). The reader gets to enjoy this story while at the same time learning a bit about other cultures (shhh, don’t tell your children they’ll be learning too).
Whether you already celebrate Kwanzaa or have always been curious, this story will deliver fun, fantasy and some cultural education thrown in as well. Please turn the page and enjoy!
Next week, I’ll let you know what this television icon said about something I wrote, and how it changed the direction of my life.
James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com