Actress Anjelika Washington shines a light on “Jesus Freaks” in Praise This!

I had the opportunity to screen the new faith based film PRAISE THIS! before it was released and I instantly fell in love with the character Jess portrayed by Anjelika Washington.

Jess is the perfect church girl. She wears those cute little floral dresses and reference the Bible every time she speaks. She lives in Atlanta with her parents and they attend The Oil Factory Church where she’s also a member of the praise team. She listens to trap music on her way to church and so graciously changes the station when she gets a block away. Oh, and she plays the drums!!!!!! Talk about layers to a person right?

So, I was excited last week when I was given the opportunity to ask Washington some questions about her role in the film.

Check it out:

Bea: Were there any real life experiences that prepared you for the film?

Anjelika: For me, I wasn’t raised in church. I did have my come to Jesus moment. I went to Bible college before I became a full-time actress, where they would call certain people the Jesus freaks and Bible freaks. We all love Jesus, but ya’ll love Jesus on a different level. So, when I read this script I felt like Jess was that girl, she was the Jesus freak. Ones who entire lives revolve around the heart of Jesus. So I wanted to shine a light and make that character multidimensional, who also has ambition, and wants other things as well.

Bea: There is a lot of singing and dancing in this film, what did you do to prepare.

Anjelika: I had to get drum lessons. I had three weeks of drum lessons everyday. 7 days a week. I’m really proud of that because all of that drumming in the movie was really me. The hand close-ups, everything was me.

Bea: What was it like working with the iconic Will Packer?

Anjelika: I had him on my vision board since 2018. So when I found out I got the part I was so excited. This was something that I wanted for so long and this is my first predominantly Black film. I felt like a member of the cast. I didn’t feel like a token Black girl.

“It felt really special to be apart of that, to be taken care of and to be seen by my community, Washington concluded.

actress Anjelika Washington

Produced by Will Packer, PRAISE THIS! is centered around Sam (Chloe Bailey) who is sent to live with her aunt and uncle and talkative cousin Jess in the South. Jess takes Sam, who loves to sing to church with her where she joins the choir and changes the gospel choir competition scene forever.

The film also stars Koryn Hawthorne, JeKalyn Carr, Loren Lott and Quavo.

PRAISE THIS! is now streaming on Peacock.

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