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Kwanzaa is wack; there I said it. (4993 hits)

Kwanzaa Is Wack: There, I Said It
Written by Adisa Banjoko, West Coast Editor on December 26, 2011 9:00 am Click for

Kwanzaa is wack. The other day I said this on my Facebook page. Actually, what I said was: “Is it wrong of me to say that I love AFRICA, but I think Kwanzaa is wack?



Now, when I said it, I meant it but gave no thought to how it might affect people. I’m kind of bad like that. A ton of people (some Black and some not) got on and said they thought Kwanzaa was wack too. I never thought about it again really. Just a funny little thread.

Then someone got real upset. I felt bad about that, truly. But the reality is that Kwanzaa was created by an FBI informant named Dr. Maulana Karenga. Straight up! That’s an actual fact. Beyond that, stuff like corn that is used in a lot of the rituals is not even native to Africa. A friend of mine noted “it’s truly corny.”

Now hold on. I did participate in a few Kwanzaa events back when ’89 was the number. I always tried to do observe it. But once I did the history on its founder and some of the deeper elements of its hollow cultural base, it was hard to continue on. For those who do, I promise I’m not mad at you. Not that you would care. But you can’t get your kente cloth all in a bunch because I’m not feeling it.

Look, I love Africa and what it means to be Black. I love almost everything African (aside from the tribal fighting and the needless murder and rape of women across the continent). But Kwanzaa is not African. I never knew an African (from any part of the continent) who was like “Yo Adisa, bro you wanna slide thought to the Kwanzaa fest playa?” It has never happened! They don’t get down like that.

Kwanzaa is like a bad weave. People might kinda like it, but we all know it ain’t real. Now, I live on the West coast, in the Bay Area. The only people I see really on some Kwanzaa “ish” are the hardcore revolutionary types you might find at the Berkeley flea market selling incense and shea butter soap (which they might consider using on themselves).

I guess what I’m saying is, I was raised on the works of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Ivan VanSertima and Runoko Rashidi. I studied a lot about ancient Kemet, The Moorish Empire, Benin, Timbuktu etc. I love reading about African culture and history any time I can. That’s why I don’t need Kwanzaa. I have knowledge of self and kind.

It appears as though the only other people who might celebrate it are East coast college types who still work on a University campus. But I’m not even sure that’s accurate.

Dr. Maulana Karenga was an informant who hated on Geronimo Pratt and caused a lot of damage to the African American community. How do we know he didn’t “found” Kwanzaa in 1966 as a social experiment on Black people for the FBI? How could such a knowledgeable man just forget that corn is not from his homeland?

Beyond that, is it possible to love Africa and not celebrate Kwanzaa? I know Jews that do not celebrate Chanukah. I know Muslims that don’t celebrate every Ramadan or Eid (some for health reasons, others because they came from places so poor, fasting was a daily occasion). I know Christians that do not celebrate Christmas (because they read Jeremiah 10: 1-25 in the Holy Bible). They still consider themselves lovers of their individual paths though. Can I love my Blackness and still think Kwanzaa is rich in wackness? Is there anything else we can do outside of Kwanzaa to stay more authentically connected to the Motherland? What do you think?
Posted By: Marta Fernandez
Thursday, December 29th 2011 at 1:10AM
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Buenos Dias Hermana Marta!

The only thing I would say on this, is that no one has ever been led to believe that Kwanzaa was from Africa or an African tradition. I always understood it to be an alternative for Black Peoples of America, as an alternative to Christmas; the object materialism/getting into debt, white Santa Claus, Santa Claus period, drunkeness / debauchery and overall, mischief-making.

I find all of the opposition to Kwanzaa on philosophical basis, given the justifications here on HBCU Connect and other syndicated sites, for some sort of observing Christmas, when we know that there's nothing "Christ" about it. Furthermore, detractors to Kwanzaa feign opposition to it, among other reasons, because it is not from Africa (as if that ever mattered in the first place). It's difficult to dispute the dubious history of Maluana Karenga. I mean, damn, if he was all that many claimed him to be, it's mind-boggling that anyone would even invite him to speak at Kwanzaa events, much less participate in a celebration he founded.

Personally, I don't celebrate Kwanzaa, even though I will attend public events along that line. And I have absolutely no problem with identifying with the 7 Principles of Blackness (more recently, watered-down to the 7 Principles). And if you ask me, one can celebrate Kwanzaa, using the same reason they do so, in embracing and "celebrating" Christmas; visiting and spending time with family, understanding that more than likely, more of us have family members who will deal with Christmas, only, with only a select few, rejecting this for Kwanzaa.

After all, I think even one's own parents would understand the principled stand they might take by not visiting them on that day, if he/she has been a dutiful child to them, for the other 364 or 365 days of the year. So we should stop acting as if on that one day, your decision to stay home makes you something other than that! (I know that some of you here who are reading this, just can't wait to dismiss Muslims who choose not to visit on Christmas day as "extreme" and "backwards Moozlims" (Yup, I went there, LOL).

Then again, one could look at this from the standpoint that since to them, it's just another day, a visit on "Christmas" isn't a big deal, anyway.

To perhaps gain a better understanding as to why Kwanzaa is preferable to Christmas, we should read the book "Afrikan People and European Holidays" by the late, Dr. Ishakamusa Barashango (very gifted brother in my opinion). The book is a timeless classic, and as we witness the madness that continues, these descriptions are only underscored, tenfold.

Peace!
Thursday, January 5th 2012 at 2:39PM
Siebra Muhammad
HOLIDAY TRADITIONS OF THE OPPRESSOR

Ishakamusa Barashango, Ph.D., a Black liberationist and lecturer taught that holidays are merely mechanisms established by people of European descent to continue to oppress and suppress Black people and deify themselves.

“We are so compelled by the conditions in the environment (in which) we are living to look at things in a fantasy manner rather from the viewpoint of reality. We are still being subject to a European worldview,” the teacher and former pastor said at a 1990s lecture about European holidays and Black mental genocide.

He further explained that due to the whitewashing of African culture in America, the African perspective of life and happiness and celebrations has been distorted, perverted, and converted to a European worldview.

“Holidays are the institutionalized celebration of the thoughts and ideas of a particular philosophical worldview … The celebration of holidays helps to establish and maintain strong emotional and cultural bonds between you and that which you are celebrating. When we celebrate European holidays, what are we binding ourselves to?” Barashango asked.

We just celebrated Thanksgiving, or in the eyes of some liberationists like Barashango, Native American genocide. Several other American holidays like Halloween, Columbus Day, and Christmas come from European philosophies, pagan religious practices and celebrations of White’s victory over their enemies.

Our African ancestors did celebrate many things like the harvest and victory, but Barashango emphasized in his lecture that we have never celebrated the victory of our enemies over us as we do today in America.

“Thanksgiving Day literally is a holiday celebrating the beginnings of the almost total extermination of an entire race of people, commonly called ‘Indians’, and the enslavement, continued oppression and genocide of the African, by European settlers … For over 100 years now.

Black folks in the United States have joined with the descendants of the same European murder[er]s who enslaved them and systematically all but destroyed the Amer-Indian, in feasting and giving thanks to God for the (opportunity) to live in one of the most racist, imperialist, and oppressive countries on earth .... Black People celebrating Thanksgiving Day is like the Americans celebrating the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or the so-called Jews celebrating the rise of the Third Reich, or the Palestinians celebrating the intrusion of the settler colony of Zionist Israel, or moreover the millions of Zulu descendants who are being murdered by the thousands each day, celebrating the establishment of the Union of South Africa ...”

Frederick Douglass wrote in “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” that during chattel slavery, enslaved Blacks were not obligated to work from Christmas to the New Year. He wrote that it was unfavorable for Blacks to work and they were encouraged to indulge in drunkenness and merriment.

“From what I know of the effect of these holidays upon the slave, I believe them to be among the most effective means in the hands of the slaveholder in keeping down the spirit of insurrection,” Douglass wrote. He added that, if enslaved Africans had been given the freedom to work, focus, and reject the spirit of the holidays, they would eventually rebel.

The spirit of the holidays seems to invoke cheer and help people forget the bad in their lives. And in some opinions, the holidays are also time, when the oppressor reminds the world of his victories in a subtle, festive way.

Barashango and Douglass remind Black Americans, however, that many of the holidays we have adopted and have become attached to may simply be distractions weakening the spirit of Black freedom. As implied by Black liberationists and leaders, spiritual elevation may not always involve Bible readings and a preacher. Sometimes it means recognizing our environmental truths and making strides to renew our original Black mind.


Thursday, January 12th 2012 at 12:44PM
Siebra Muhammad
The corn being out of place really got to me in the sense...the people of our Mother land never traveled our side of 'African and no one traveled to the Mother land?This may make prefect sense to you but Blacks had explored in both Americas long before Columbus 'discovered America' . (smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
My grandmother use to celebrate someting she called Old Christmas...then when Kwanzaa came along there were parts of what my grandmother did in it...a few days ago I heard someting about an old original celebration the was doene in Egypt in ancient times...I have made plans to try and find out more about this also...I am hooping it all ties in togather some how and we have ended up with pieces lost here and there and maybe we can find the whole of this part of our past.

At. least for me it will be fun and will help maybe my being able to end this years and years puzzle...I should have paid more attention back then. (smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
@sIEBRA HOW ABOUT A LITTLE MORE OF WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT...like how some of these celebrations came about in different places.I love reading about things like that so please let me know. (smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
/*
I'm a bit late on this topic My Friends... Sorry.

It's interesting that 'Kwanza' is mentioned since I've just put down a book I was reading on it. It's very interesting to know that a 'Snitch' wrote and invented something that could have been beneficial. Too bad...

I've never been much of a follower of anything non-the-less a 'cultish' Johnnie-come-lately, fly-by-night gathering of sorts.

Really good post Beautiful Sister.

Peace and Love,

Greg.
*/

Tuesday, October 28th 2014 at 7:36PM
Gregory Boulware, Esq.
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