Watch: What Do You Know About Kwanzaa?

This article originally ran on Dec. 27, 2017.

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 young people, have no knowledge of Kwanzaa.

As one millennial asked, “What celebrities are affiliated with Kwanzaa?” Hmmm (thinking emoji). None. We then tried to figure out what celebrity should “endorse” Kwanzaa. She said Erykah Badu. Maybe SZA?


So, it’s not really a part of popular culture; it’s not in many homes if your parents didn’t celebrate and, most surprisingly, it’s not taught in schools.

But, as the elders have been screaming since forever (and “elders” is a very Kwanzaa word), we can’t expect others to properly educate us.

So there you have it—check out what Harlem had to say about Kwanzaa (by the way, I dressed as the “Kwanzaa Genie” to get into the mood!).

Happy Kwanzaa, y’all. #MakeKwanzaaGreatAgain

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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Genetta M. Adams

I totally co-sign the Kwanzaa parade.