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Kwanzaa Week's posts - English uPOST

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 31, 2019.

There Was but One Creative Gawd Who Smote All Others in 2019. Mr. Billy Porter Is Kuumba Personified

There Was but One Creative Gawd Who Smote All Others in 2019. Mr. Billy Porter Is Kuumba Personified

If there’s one thing black folk are, it’s creative. Whether through necessity or just burned into our melanin-ness, we make sumptuous meals from scraps, our bodies defy gravity when we dance; and we have reimagined fashion, hair, sport, ways of looking at the world, and even naming our children in our burnished image (even if we rarely get the credit or coinage for our contributions). We are...

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 31, 2019. 5 comments

Resist! Maxine Waters Stayed True to Her Purpose of Impeaching the Orange Menace

Resist! Maxine Waters Stayed True to Her Purpose of Impeaching the Orange Menace

On this fifth day of Kwanzaa, we celebrate Nia, which means purpose, and also surges in popularity as a name every time Nia Long releases a film. “Imani” is the only other principle that even comes close, according to research from the Love Jones Institute for Boyz in the Hood.

My aunt Kujchagulia Ujima Jenkins disagrees. But I digress.

So yes, Nia is a word you have most likely heard, and the...

5 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 30, 2019. 4 comments

Ujamaa That! Annual Kwanzaa Crawl Brings $250,000 to Black Businesses in Gentrifying Harlem and Brooklyn

Ujamaa That! Annual Kwanzaa Crawl Brings $250,000 to Black Businesses in Gentrifying Harlem and Brooklyn

Even us anti-capitalists recognize that economic freedom is power in the good ole US of A. And as it relates to Kwanzaa, on this fourth day, we celebrate Ujamaa (ooh-jaa-mah), meaning cooperative economics and also, “shared wealth and work”, “economic self-reliance” and “obligation of generosity.”

Last year, we feted Richelieu Dennis , and in 2017, it was Chance the Rapper .

This year we are...

4 Comments

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Dec 25, 2019. 5 comments

Christmas Vs. Kwanzaa: The Tale of the Tape

Christmas Vs. Kwanzaa: The Tale of the Tape

I was raised in a fundamentalist church that believed in the seventh-day Sabbath, tambourines and neverending, four-nights-a-week services that lasted well into Arsenio Hall’s opening monologue. Apparently, God’s eternal kingdom specifically forbade rap music, brazen women who had premarital sex (if you were a man it wasn’t ok but it didn’t decrease your value) and Christmas cheer.

Even...

5 Comments

Dec 24, 2019. 1 comments

Kwanzaa 101 for the Uninitiated, Self-Conscious, or Confused

Kwanzaa 101 for the Uninitiated, Self-Conscious, or Confused

Y’all, Kwanzaa is LIT. Seriously. What other uniquely African-American holiday invites you to spend seven days talking about the realest shit?

People get so caught up in how it’s a made-up holiday, but come on—a holiday is a group decision. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a federal holiday is younger than Kwanzaa. I’m not saying it’s right, but thems the facts.

So how do you, a Kwanzaa...

1 Comments

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Jan 02, 2019. 9 comments

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: How I Killed the Kwanzaa Carol

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: How I Killed the Kwanzaa Carol

If I’m ever sent to prison on charges of first-degree blackness or mayonnaise-related hate speech, I will probably have to do my time in solitary confinement. I’m pretty sure there are prison gangs that are waiting to stab me with a shank made out of a Bic pen to get a teardrop tattoo symbolizing that they killed the man who disrespected their connection to the outside world. And it’s all...

9 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Jan 02, 2019. 9 comments

Stacey Abrams Exemplifies the Kwanzaa Principle of Imani—Consciously Moving Forward Against Forces Seen and Unseen

Stacey Abrams Exemplifies the Kwanzaa Principle of Imani—Consciously Moving Forward Against Forces Seen and Unseen

The last day of Kwanzaa is represented by the principle of Imani, or faith—the essence of what has gotten us through when there seemed no way out. Black people, in general, are a spiritual people. But we are also a people of faith, which is not necessarily attached to formal religion. In the words of the King James version of the Bible:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the...

9 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Jan 01, 2019. 1 comments

Kuumba & Chill: Netflix’s Doyenne Jasmyn Lawson Is Out Here Doing It for the Culture

Kuumba & Chill: Netflix’s Doyenne Jasmyn Lawson Is Out Here Doing It for the Culture

As we continue on our Kwanzaa trek this year, today we celebrate Kuumba, or creativity, a place where—let’s be frank—black folks excel. From Black Twitter to music of practically every genre; from comedy to cooking; from politics to fashion, we are nothing if not creative.

Kuumba is defined as: “To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful...

1 Comments

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Dec 31, 2018. 6 comments

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: The Kwanzaa Pants Fight

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: The Kwanzaa Pants Fight

I don’t know why people dislike fights.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with equally matched competitors mutually agreeing to a physical altercation. In my hometown, fighting wasn’t just a rite of passage, it was a legitimate way to solve disputes. Where I’m from, one didn’t have to be mad or angry to engage in fisticuffs. You could simply invite someone for a friendly fight to settle...

6 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 31, 2018.

Kwanzaa Queens With That Nia Heat: BMMA Founders Manifest Purpose in Saving Black Mamas’ Lives

Kwanzaa Queens With That Nia Heat: BMMA Founders Manifest Purpose in Saving Black Mamas’ Lives

As we continue to celebrate the African American cultural holiday of Kwanzaa, today brings us to Nia, or “Purpose,” defined as: “To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”

And two black women (it’s always black women isn’t it? ), in their quest to not only restore us to our traditional greatness...

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Dec 30, 2018. 12 comments

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: How the Grinch Stole Ujamaa

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: How the Grinch Stole Ujamaa

Here’s a lie you often hear:

“I grew up in the hood. And because I was smart, all the cool kids and the gangstas bullied me and beat me up.”

If you talk to anyone who ever knew me, none of them would describe me as cool. Even though I was the least intimidating person you would meet, I didn’t encounter much trouble because I didn’t live in “the hood.”

No one lives in “the hood” or the...

12 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 30, 2018. 1 comments

Kwanzaa Shout: Richelieu Dennis, the ‘Essence’ of Cooperative Economics

Kwanzaa Shout: Richelieu Dennis, the ‘Essence’ of Cooperative Economics

Today—Dec. 29—the Kwanzaa principle celebrated is Ujamaa, or “cooperative economics,” and there was very little debate as to who personified the “essence” of this concept, simply defined as such: To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Richelieu Dennis, founder of the and CEO of Sun­dial Brands, which includes Shea Moisture and Nubian...

1 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 29, 2018. 1 comments

The Women of GirlTrek, in Their Literal Movement for Black Women, Radiate Collective Work and Responsibility

The Women of GirlTrek, in Their Literal Movement for Black Women, Radiate Collective Work and Responsibility

The Kwanzaa principle for today, Dec. 28, is Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility. Ujima means building and maintaining our community together and making our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems while solving them together.

Vanessa Garrison and Morgan Dixon, the founders of GirlTrek, embody the principles of collective work and responsibility. Their eight-year-old outfit organizes...

1 Comments

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Dec 28, 2018. 4 comments

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: Cops, Crack Rock and Why My Mama Doesn’t Have a Kwanzaa Cup

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: Cops, Crack Rock and Why My Mama Doesn’t Have a Kwanzaa Cup

The thing you must know about Kwanzaa is that it really isn’t seven times the holiday that Christmas is because, although you receive gifts every day during Kwanzaa, the Kwanzaa haul isn’t really as lucrative as the Christmas haul.

No one in the history of Kujichagulias has ever received a bike for Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa gifts are kinda shitty. They’re often handmade and are supposed to represent...

4 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 28, 2018. 1 comments

Habari Gani?! Kujichagulia! Marshawn ‘Spark the Blunt’ Lynch Goes Beast Mode for Self-Determination

Habari Gani?! Kujichagulia! Marshawn ‘Spark the Blunt’ Lynch Goes Beast Mode for Self-Determination

For each day of Kwanzaa, the African-American cultural holiday that eschews the typical commercialism of the holiday season, we will be highlighting a person or persons from the past year who exemplifies the principle of the day. Kwanzaa was created in 1966 to uplift a sense of community through the principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative...

1 Comments

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Dec 27, 2018. 14 comments

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: Stories About the Turkey Bacon of Holidays

Dispatches From The Kwanzaa Kid: Stories About the Turkey Bacon of Holidays

I like turkey bacon.

I realize that turkey bacon is essentially a ribbon of bologna meat, but as someone who grew up in a super-religious household and was raised by an uber-religious mother, I never had bacon (or any of the popular pork-related meats) until I was an adult. Don’t get me wrong, I knew of bacon’s existence, but by the time I was old enough to try it, I had been so brainwashed...

14 Comments

Jun 20, 2018. 3 comments

Why Kwanzaa Is Lit Like 7 Red, Black and Green Candles

Why Kwanzaa Is Lit Like 7 Red, Black and Green Candles

Each year, there are new essays or snide conversations about how black people don’t celebrate Kwanzaa. But I’m here to tell you that some of us do. Some of us have been doing it for decades. Yeah, I’m that unicorn.

My mother is from Cincinnati and she grew up with Christmas, but when she had children in the 1970s, she chose not to celebrate. She’s told me that it was because she didn’t want...

3 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Jan 02, 2018. 1 comments

Habari Gani?! Imani! The Black Women of Alabama Embodied Faith in 2017

Habari Gani?! Imani! The Black Women of Alabama Embodied Faith in 2017

Faith. George Michael crooned about it; black people in America somehow maintain it—even if it’s the size of a mustard seed—time and time again.

Faith, or Imani, is the last principle of Kwanzaa, the weeklong black cultural holiday started more than half a century ago.

This entire week, for each day of Kwanzaa, The Root shone the spotlight on one person from the community who exemplified the...

1 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Jan 01, 2018. 3 comments

Habari Gani?! Kuumba! Robin Thede Embodied Creativity in 2017

Habari Gani?! Kuumba! Robin Thede Embodied Creativity in 2017

This year, for each day of Kwanzaa, The Root is highlighting one person from the community who exemplifies the principle of the day.

On the sixth day of Kwanzaa, Dec. 31, the principle is Kuumba, or “creativity.” To practice Kuumba is to do always as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

The person who we felt...

3 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 31, 2017. 8 comments

Habari Gani?! Kujichagulia! Cardi B Was the Embodiment of Self-Determination in 2017

Habari Gani?! Kujichagulia! Cardi B Was the Embodiment of Self-Determination in 2017

This year, for each day of Kwanzaa, The Root is highlighting one person from the community who exemplifies the principle of the day.

On the second day of Kwanzaa, Dec. 27, the principle is Kujichagulia, or “self-determination.” To practice Kujichagulia is to define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.

The person we feel best exemplified self-determination this year...

8 Comments

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