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 and beneficial than we inherited it.”
And so for cultural creator Jasmyn Lawson, Kuumba is par for the course: “I do everything for black girls, that’s literally my motto in life,” she told The Root last year.
When Lawson was profiled for The Root, she was the cultural editor for Giphy, which runs the internet’s largest GIF database. At Giphy, Lawson’s job was creating cool, funny, and always on point GIFs to ensure black (as well as Native American, Asian, women, etc.) had adequate (and hot) representation in gifs.
Presently, she’s doing it big for the culture at Netflix through social media, and working with the media studio’s Strong Black Lead flight, creating some really dope content like this commercial chock full of beautiful black girls getting their Netflix on:
As Lawson notes: “Pop culture is political. Beyonce’s Lemonade is a visual representation of Black womanhood in America, and the fights for equality for women in Hollywood are merely just a reflection of the fight for women’s rights in every path of life.”
And because Jasmyn Lawson is making strides and a difference in the places where black people dwell (on screens everywhere), doing creative things in creative spaces, and expanding our black mirrors (ahem) errrrywhere, she is our choice for Kuumba Kween.
I mean, she’s really out here doing it for the culture, and so how could she not be our pick?
Who do you think best embodied creativity this year? Sound off in the comments.
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 economics, purpose, creativity and faith—all things which have helped us survive since we were dropped here on these shores some 400 years ago.