VH1’s Hip Hop Family Christmas is back with a follow-up in Hip Hop Christmas Wedding, which will premiere on Wednesday, November 30th. It’s part of the network’s holiday movie lineup.
The first film followed the biggest hip-hop family preparing a holiday concert. From executive producer Jamie Foxx, they are back, and this time, Christmas wedding bells are ringing! Jessica (Keri Hilson) and Jayson (Ne-Yo) are getting ready to exchange vows, while their mothers – Tina (MC Lyte) and Nancy (Valarie Pettiford) – are fighting it out for wedding planning supremacy. Blare (Terrence J) is running his own music label, and when he meets his formidable, beautiful new boss, Jai (Cassie), she proves to be a force to be reckoned with. We talked to her about the new movie.
S&A: You guys are back for the sequel. What about the original movie did you feel made such a hit that they wanted to do something the second time around?
KH: That’s an interesting question. You don’t ever really know what the success of it will be, but the viewership would be their answer. What I also think is that when you have a cast that truly gels and enjoys each other, likes each other, protects each other, helps each other out when that’s necessary – I really think that that translates on film. You can’t act your way out of not liking one another. You can’t act your way out of not truly gelling or not ever embracing each other. Especially when you’re playing a family.
I guess you could if you hate someone in the scene. But when you really need to look like love and look like you grew up together and have a family unit, it really, really helps. And I feel like that translated. I feel like people felt the authenticity of this family. Jamie Fox did a great well at casting our family. That would be my introspective artist answer. But I know that the viewership is what brought it back and made VH1 say, ‘Let’s pick up another, and let’s continue the story.’
S&A: Now you spoke about the cast being able to gel. That's one of the things that I enjoy. The cast is great. It's phenomenal. But this time around, the plot thickens. So there's more drama between in-laws. How hard was it for you not to laugh during certain scenes while filming?
KH: Oh, gosh, it was so hard that I wasn’t able to do it. A lot of times, you’re delirious. And so if something is even slightly funny, you might just break and because we like each other, because we’re all delirious together, we would just have laughing spells. We had a lot of night shoots on this film. So, again, delirium. Sleep deprivation of it really sets in. And there were too many to name. To be honest, the wedding scene was one of them. If I were drinking, I absolutely would have spit a whole drink in the preacher’s face.
S&A: You’ve done a few Christmas movies at this point. My personal favorite is 'Almost Christmas.' Have you found a difference in feeling or lke mood when you're filming holiday movies versus other projects?
KH: Yeah, it’s brighter. Even though there is drama and there are tears, like in the first installment of this film, you saw a lot of turmoil within Jessica, within other characters, even in Almost Christmas. But the mood overall is the same as it is in your family. There might be family drama, but there’s love, and that always ends up in a great place than where you began. Because that love is going to supersede anything that’s going on. It is going to resolve. Because you know how you can say you love people and their souls and their spirits more than you love their actions and more than you love what they do or how they make you feel momentarily? And so that’s what I think is going on here as well.
S&A: And one of the things I love about Christmas movies as well is that it becomes a tradition that you watch them year after year. Are you excited that the films that you participated in - this one and others - are now a part of that holiday tradition, and they'll be passed down from generation to generation?
KH: Yes, absolutely. That’s one of my favorite things about it. I didn’t know that it would be the gift that keeps on giving. Family members pass it along to each other. They might make a basket for other family members that they’re sending out with popcorn and all these Christmas baskets, and my movie would be in it. That movie would be in it.
This year, I look forward to seeing A Hip-Hop Family Christmas again. I hear that it’s already re-airing from last year. And that’s exciting. Because it’s not something you see all year round. So when you do, it just kind of puts you back in a certain mood. And for me, it makes me remember what it was like to have two Christmases in one year because we’re acting in a Christmas movie, and then we’re having a real Christmas. So it’s great each year now for two years straight for me.
S&A: Now, what is your Christmas wish for 2022?
KH: Last year, my dad appeared to me in a dream on Christmas Day. He passed in 2020, and it was the most beautiful surprise that I could ever receive – without giving any details about it. It was as if he orchestrated this dream on Christmas morning for me.
As I was preparing, I was waking up in my house preparing to go to my mother’s, and I told them about it. I hope that he does this every year. It had fireworks. It was just amazing, and he was there. And I got to hug him. This is the first time in a dream that he’s appeared to me where I could touch him. So that’s my Christmas wish. I hope that he orchestrates something beautiful again. That’s.