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Kwanzaa Week's posts - English uPOST

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

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 31, 2017. 9 comments

Watch: What Do You Know About Kwanzaa? 

Watch: What Do You Know About Kwanzaa? 

When The Root video producer P.J. Rickards and I stepped onto the streets of Harlem (full disclosure: my beloved hood), we were both surprised at the dearth of information about Kwanzaa, the African-American cultural holiday started more than 50 years ago.

Honestly, I think Kwanzaa was more popular in the ’90s, when it was all about Afrocentrism and black medallions. Now many folks, especially...

9 Comments

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Dec 31, 2017. 11 comments

#MakeKwanzaaGreatAgain, Explained

#MakeKwanzaaGreatAgain, Explained
Can you explain the #MakeKwanzaaGreatAgain hashtag?

Sure. This will be one of our shortest explainers ever.

The Root has started a grassroots campaign to place Kwanzaa at the top of the list of the most important black cultural traditions. Essentially—I know it’s hard to tell our intentions from the hashtag—we want to make Kwanzaa great again.

Haha. I’m ashamed to ask this, but, umm . . . what...

11 Comments

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Dec 31, 2017. 5 comments

We Need To Talk About the Teddy Pendergrass Kwanzaa Carol

We Need To Talk About the Teddy Pendergrass Kwanzaa Carol

If you’re reading this, it’s too late.

I’m petty sure I’m either dead, in “the upside down” or caught in some existential interdimensional prank show hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This can’t be real life. Someone should call up Willie D or Scarface, because I think I have another verse for “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me.”

This year Kwanzaa fell on the weekend.
I had just arose from sleeping
Up...

5 Comments

Kirsten West Savali Kirsten West Savali Dec 31, 2017. 6 comments

Kwanzaa: Revisiting Maulana Karenga’s Legacy

Kwanzaa: Revisiting Maulana Karenga’s Legacy

Kwanzaa, like black America, was birthed in struggle and chaos, then bathed in blood. It was born in the freedom movement, against the backdrop of the Watts rebellion, the rise of the Black Panther Party, the FBI’s COINTELPRO and the assassination of Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz).

Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of Africana studies at California State University, is often credited...

6 Comments

Angela Helm Angela Helm Dec 31, 2017. 3 comments

Habari Gani?! Nia! Colin Kaepernick Embodied Purpose in 2017

Habari Gani?! Nia! Colin Kaepernick Embodied Purpose 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 fifth day of Kwanzaa, Dec. 30, the principle is Nia, or “purpose.” To practice Nia is to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Or, in plain speak, it’s about...

3 Comments

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