Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. He created it as an African-American holiday as a way to empower Black people to rediscover and celebrate their African heritage “rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”
It is observed for 7 days from Dec 26th to Jan 1st and each day is dedicated to a specific Kwanzaa principle:
- Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Hollywood isn’t very heavy on the holiday but these 8 tv episodes and movies made sure to celebrate Kwanzaa. Check them out below
Ella returns to her hometown to mend fences with her fractured family. With help from her ex-boyfriend, she encourages her family to celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa and heal their past wounds before it’s too late. Directed by Alfons Adetuyi and written by Rhonda Baraka, Holiday Heritage stars Holly Robinson Peete, Lyndie Greenwood, Brooks Darnell and more. You can watch it on the Hallmark Channel.
Episode: A Rugrats Kwanzaa
Rugrats gave us an entire episode to the celebration of Kwanzaa. Through Susie Carmichael’s Aunt T., the family and their white friends celebrate Kwanzaa for the first time. As the special episode of the classic Nickelodeon cartoon goes on, Susie learns a lot of stories about her family’s past.
Episode: Arthur’s Perfect Christmas
While the whole episode isn’t dedicated to the celebration of Kwanzaa, viewers do get a glimpse of how Kwanzaa is celebrated through Arthur’s friend Alan Powers, also known as “The Brain.” The family’s local ice cream parlor even offers a special Kwanzaa sundae with flavors that correspond to traditional Kwanzaa colors. His family is also seen decorating the house for the holiday, complete with color-coordinated balloons.
The Proud Family
Episode: Seven Days of Kwanzaa
While getting ready for Christmas, the Proud family befriend and invite a homeless family to their house to celebrate the holidays. The family then returns the favor to celebrate their holiday with the Proud Family. That holiday is Kwanzaa. As the family teaches Penny and her family all about Kwanzaa, its principles, and how it is celebrated. Viewers also get an in-depth education on the holiday.
Everybody Hates Chris
Episode: Everybody Hates Kwanzaa
In true Julius cheap fashion, the family’s patriarch convinces his family to celebrate Kwanzaa on the basis that it’s cheaper than Christmas. Interestingly enough, the show’s star Tyler James Williams is celebrating the holiday for a second time on TV, the first time was through a Sesame Street special.
Episode: The Futurama Holiday Spectacular
In the world of Futurama, Kwanzaa is celebrated with its own holiday mascot: The Kwanzaabot. Kwanzaabot is the Kwanzaa counterpart to the Santa Claus Robot and the Hanukkah Zombie. He travels the world during Kwanzaa, giving people Kwanzaa book titled “What the Hell is Kwanzaa?” It explains just what the holiday is, a tradition he’s performed for at least six centuries.
In the episode The Futurama Holiday Spectacular, viewers learn Hermes Conrad and his family celebrate the Kwanzaa holiday, inviting the rest of the Planet Express crew, the Globetrotters, and even Kwanzaabot. Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong when they go on an adventure to get beeswax for the kinara candles.
Sesame Street celebrated Kwanzaa through a young Abbot Elementary’s Tyler James Williams and his brother Tyrel Jackson Williams and their family. In the episode the Williams brothers are shown lighting candles, playing music, and celebrating the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Sid The Science Kid
Some families celebrate multiple holidays in December, like Sid from PBS’s Sid The Science Kid. With an African-American mother and a Jewish father, the family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Sid’s mother, Alice, mentions that her family also celebrated both Christmas and Kwanzaa when she was a girl, meaning that combining different holidays is nothing new to her.