A passionate response to Tyler Perry’s ‘The Passion Live’

Tyler Perry has lived and worked in Atlanta since the 1990s, but yesterday he returned to his native New Orleans for the live telecast of “The Passion Live.”

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - MARCH 20: Host Tyler Perry appears in "The Passion", an epic musical event airing LIVE from New Orleans on FOX, at Woldenberg Park on March 20, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Skip Bolen/Getty Images for dcp)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – MARCH 20: Host Tyler Perry appears in “The Passion”, an epic musical event airing LIVE from New Orleans on FOX, at Woldenberg Park on March 20, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Skip Bolen/Getty Images for dcp)

Announced back in December, the two-hour event Sunday night on Fox sought to unite the sacred and the secular in a modern retelling of the Passion with Jencarlos Canela as Jesus, Tricia Yearwood as Mary, Chris Daughtry as Judas and Seal as Pontius Pilate.

Photo gallery: Tyler Perry hosts ‘The Passion’

The singers (actors?) performed contemporary songs that fit with the story and found themselves placed in 21st century scenarios. The show also cut to a live procession of hundreds of people walking through the streets of New Orleans with an illuminated cross.

Before the broadcast even got started, it elicited a passionate response from viewers on social media. One of the biggest pre-show debates on Facebook was about casting.

Some disgruntled (potential) viewers were not happy that Jesus was being portrayed by a white man and were upset that Perry, a black man, would offer up a representation of a “white Jesus.”

That prompted others to point out that Canela is Cuban which actually makes him a brown Jesus. And that led many others to note that if the production were really accurate, Jesus should have been portrayed by a Middle Eastern Jewish singer/actor.

The race debate also included mention that Seal, a dark-skinned singer of African descent, was portraying Pontius Pilate, the man who crucified Jesus.

When the show finally got underway, reaction was mixed between those who were elated to see a production of the Passion on national television and those who were dismayed with the quality of this particular production.

In case you missed it, today the production is available to stream on demand to viewers in all markets at FOX.com and through the FOX NOW app.

Reader Comments 0

254 comments
Donna Parker
Donna Parker

Jesus is for all, it is not about color, it is about the story. I thought this was well done, good for you Tyler Perry. I liked that the cast was diverse. Well done.

Cindy Heizer
Cindy Heizer

Thank you Tyler for your awesome presentation of the death and resurrection of Jesus!! Jesus died for all people no matter what color or origin! It's not about color, religion, orientation, or origin. It's about grace, unconditional love and salvation!!

Zarah Stallings
Zarah Stallings

My best friend who is white , really loved the musical. She loves in New Orleans. I hav yet to see it

Pandora Johnson
Pandora Johnson

Thank you for making it .and for where it was done . awesome

Pandora Johnson
Pandora Johnson

Well Nancy people are denied work every day in that field because of color. And God does see us as equal s .but thing is not us humans we are not there by a long shot.

Brenda Freeman
Brenda Freeman

Long as it was good I don't care who played what it's always a problem with some thing.God is the only one gonna do the judgement and he don't care about the color.Mr Perry keep up the good work god got you

Sharon Mcabrew
Sharon Mcabrew

People that believe in the Lord do not have all of these small-minded things happening all you need to know if they believe for God's sake stop the madness wow

Leslie Ann Cook
Leslie Ann Cook

If that unnecessary crap is all you got out of this extraordinary touching sacrifice made for each and every one of us all I can do is pray that no matter what color you think or don't think should be portrayed as Jesus, you received the message in your hearts!

Peggy Grace
Peggy Grace

People who need Jesus the most always complaining

Susie Sheffield Evans
Susie Sheffield Evans

Why are people still looking at skin color? This was an awesome live performance, touching many people, of all skin colors.

Jan Bishop
Jan Bishop

People need to stop looking at the color and get the message

Shannon Rees
Shannon Rees

Loved the show great actors great message great music five stars ✨

Lori Hamilton
Lori Hamilton

Look at all the race remarks and if JESUS was portrayed in this incredible story. Why are so many down if this man played the correct role? Color right, actions right. It was a beautiful production. Even HERE people are judging so many things. Don't think that would would make Him very happy as His children. Not a huge forum here and even judgement has been made. Thank you Tyler Perry you made people's hearts and souls alive. JESUS didn't judge nor am I . Can't we feel some love and rejoice and get along? ✨

Cyrus Buchanan
Cyrus Buchanan

Jesus was white. What black man 2000 years ago would have a name like Jesus. What man from Ethiopia would pick a crew name Luke, John, Paul, Mark..... The story seems a little.......

Mary Spencer
Mary Spencer

Are you Atlanteans "Seriously Showing Your Racisim So Stupidly"

Debbie Mason
Debbie Mason

I loved it and hope it is shown again this week.

Betty Joubert
Betty Joubert

People ! the story of Jesus not the man player the part . Thanks Tyler Perry good job. People don't be so petty . Loved the story.

Bryan Bain
Bryan Bain

Regardless what people said about it I loved it ...

Betty Beck
Betty Beck

The point of this play I think was to show us what happened to Jesus is somehow what's going on today .

Lisa Farmer Braun
Lisa Farmer Braun

If you missed the point of The Passion don't worry, those of us who get it are praying for you!

Nakeisha Brumfield
Nakeisha Brumfield

Those who are upset missed the whole point of the broadcast!!!!!

Susan Brown Hatcher
Susan Brown Hatcher

Some people just look for anything to be offended by. Build a bridge and get over it.

Carmen Maxwell
Carmen Maxwell

Why in the world do some people take something that was so Beautiful and put racial tone to it? I wonder did they even get the message? We must stop looking for something bad in everything we must stick to hope, pray and believe in the good!

Grace Godfrey
Grace Godfrey

Maybe you should try and recall the song we sang when we were little you moron!! Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, black and yellow, red and white they are precious in his sight....maybe we should be offended as white people that we were last in the song!! Shut up and go pray!!!

Blau Nomklier
Blau Nomklier

jesus loves the little children, but he hates the morons. 

Clara Scott
Clara Scott

Everyone will know for themselves when you meet Jesus face to face in heaven what He looks like, so let's not be thrown for a loop today, it's the message thats important..THE SUFFERING, DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION, LET US STAY FOCUSED ON THE MESSIAH

Mary Darpino
Mary Darpino

Tyler Perry did a magnificent job with The Passion!!!!!!!!!!

David Fige
David Fige

Tyler Perry, Great Job... Do more just like it. TV has gone to hell.

Eileen Albers
Eileen Albers

Seriously! That was your take away last night?!? My Christian lessons taught me that we were ALL God's children. And, going back further, we are all made in His image. Wake up people and open your heart and mind to the Word of God given to the masses.

Lisa Robinson
Lisa Robinson

THE passion was very good I will watch it again.

Ralph Johnson
Ralph Johnson

I have a problem with it because Jesus is not blue eyes and blonde hair according to the Bible so that's a false idol . Oh if got blue eyes than you have African DNA in you.

Angela Mims
Angela Mims

I didn't see color, I received the message being given, that's all the matters, God made us all.

Sherry Roberson Morris Mangrum
Sherry Roberson Morris Mangrum

Just stop with the racist card,if you believe in Jesus so what does it matter what color he is. People love don't know color,after all the Lord made a rainbow of people For all you upset over the color of Jesus I will continue to pray for you to become the Christians that are not racist or negative about the teachings of our creator Open minds and open hearts with love is what we need to unite

Carol Hasty
Carol Hasty

I thought the show was wonderful and Mr. Perry did a great job.

Kathy Skinner
Kathy Skinner

Russ Kilgore is an idiot. We sure wouldn't put you in charge, look who your voting for : The ANTICHRIST,TRUMP...