Happy Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder, Maulana Karenga, called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of blackness). Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy,” consisting of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.” These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles.

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, 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 heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat on which other symbols are placed, corn and other crops, a candle holder with seven candles, called a Kinara, a communal cup for pouring libations, gifts, a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. The symbols were designed to convey the seven principles.

Harriet Tubman – The Movie

If you are Black, like me, or a person of color (you call you what you want), before you see the latest Brad Pitt movie, see Harriet. I’m an “Ole Joe” and I like movies. I’ve seen scores and scores of them. I’ve never been more moved than I was when I watched Harriet. I could give you a movie critic version of why I thought the movie was great. I could even point out the most poignant scenes. I could tell you why I thought the supporting cast was wonderful. I’m not going to do that. Honestly and earnestly, I implore you to see Harriet.

Maybe later I’ll jump on the bandwagon that will develop demanding Cynthia Erivo be considered for an Academy Award. I’ll jump on it again when she doesn’t win or, more impossibly, when she isn’t even nominated. I’ll scream foul and racism like everyone else. In the meantime, I’ll follow all the articles about why there isn’t more advertising and better distribution. I’ll grumble about the lack of press, but, right now, simply, go see the Harriet and to use that beat up expression, you’ll be glad you did. – Chuck Vasser

ps: It’s a fantastic movie whatever your race, nationality, ethnic persuasion, who you momma was, your daddy wasn’t or your sexual orientation. After all, Janelle Monae is in it and should be considered for Best Supporting Actress.