***Due toÂ simultaneousÂ emergenciesÂ in VSB land last night — Champ was home making soup, P was judging a thong contest at a 24-hour bowling alley, and Liz was actually in the thong contest (she came in 2nd) — we reached out to the homie Luvvie to provide today’s post. She wasÂ reluctantÂ at first, but a quart of rice and a half gallon of baby oil eventually swayed her. Enjoy.***
Kwanzaa is the Milli Vanilli of Holidays. It tries too hard to be authentic, but at the end of the day, it’s just a lip-synching, bad locs-wearing version of Hanukkah in Cross Colors Kente.
I’ve never been a fan of Kwanzaa and I doubt I’ll ever be one. This might be because I’m an elitist African. Or maybe I’m just a professional hater. Or both. Either way, I’ve often had to stop myself from saying “Harambe DEEZ” when people tell me “Happy Kwanzaa” thinking I celebrate it, especially because I’m from the motherland. White folks tend to think I’m the person to direct that greeting to and I usually just respond with a blank stare or a half nod. I’m African but I don’t fux with Kwanzaa celebratorily.
According toÂ the official websiteÂ (which looks like it was built on Geocities), “Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture.” Too bad this celebration of culture and roots isn’t even celebrated by most Africans. I’m not saying I know every African on this Earth, but I know NONE who celebrate Kwanzaa. I didn’t even know about Kwanzaa til I was 9, when I came to theUnited States, and we learned about it in school. I had never even heard of it. My sister even asked me if Al Sharpton invented it in 1984. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was actually Jesse Jackson.
The fact that Africans don’t celebrate Kwanzaa doesn’t make it invalid, but it’s like saying you’re paying homage to Native American culture by putting a feather in your cap and saying “HEYHOWAREYA” as you dance around a campfire. We don’t all speak Swahili, nor do we fist pump and go “Harambe” as celebration when we kill a goat. Pan-Africanism is all well and dandy but it doesn’t need to come packaged in cowrie shells, dashikis and Swahili. Kwanzaa is that teacher in high school who wears kente cloth on MLK Day that she bought it from87th street. You don’t have to do all that to show pride, or to reconnect to ancestors.
Besides that, Maulana Karenga — creator of Kwanzaa — gets hella side-eyes himself. Apparently, his motives behind creating the holiday was to make sure Black folks didn’t celebrate Christmas because apparently, Jesus was a crip and and Christmas is for suckas. So he decided to put together Black Hanukkah, complete with a menorah and candles in the Pan-African colors of red, green and black. Oh. Ok.
And that whole incident in the 70s where he was convicted of torturing a couple of his “African Queens” with electrical cord beatings and hot irons in their mouths. Yeah… Karenga seems to have hella issues.
BUT, I’m not pissing on Kwanzaa entirely. I guess the 7 principles are nice and useful if practiced. Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith ARE great principles for black folks to hold dear. But I think black culture is rich enough to where these can be emphasized without being in this Swahili-ness that Karenga decided on. Black Americans, your love is too legendary and the culture is too rich to have Kwanzaa throw it back in your face in a harambe fist pump. I’m all about celebrating African American culture, uplifting my people but to me, Kwanzaa reeks of “try too hard.” Blame it on the Boondocks.
Kwanzaa is the Michelle Williams of holidays. It has good intentions (I guess) but it doesn’t curl all the way over for me. I don’t have a problem with people who celebrate it, though. Besides, I admit my hypocrisy, because I do celebrate Christmas, which is also technically made up. And I know Jesus isn’t a Capricorn but whatevs. I’ll take my December full of materialism, cheesy carols and sweet alabaster white baby Jesus in a manger. And some jolly old dude breaking into my house to eat my cookies (pause) Â and drop off a gift. Yes. That’s much better.
Anyway, people of VSB.com: Tell us how you really feel about Kwanzaa. Â Do you celebrate it? If so, why? If not, why not?
The Kwanzaa tree(?) is yours.