Lil Rel Howery: Disney's 'Dashing through the Snow' is "culturally important"

There's a distinct difference between St. Nick as most people around the world know him — white beard, pale skin — and that of Nick, played by Lil Rel Howery, in Disney's Dashing through the Snow.

Ahead of the holiday film's release on Disney+ November 17, Howery told ABC Audio he's grateful for the opportunity to portray a Black Santa Claus and to do so alongside Black cast members.

"For a long time, in certain images — especially, I know my children and myself — I'd never seen [a Black Santa] before," Howery said.

It's a great display of representation, he added, noting his character is "culturally important."

Howery also said he appreciates the fact that there's no mention of race, ethnicity or color of his skin in the film — "he's just Santa."

What makes for an even more appealing St. Nick? "He's a modern Santa with an iPad and keys and iPhone and everything," Howery's co-star Ludacris added.

As for his feelings about the movie, Howery said he's "very proud," "very encouraged" and excited to see what families and children think.

Dashing through the Snow is available for streaming exclusively on Disney+.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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