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#EmbracingKwanzaa: A Black Holiday Made For Us, By Us

This s#*t is for us — so let's better commemorate it.

Ah, the holidays! Our favorite time of year, where people focus more on their blessings and the important things in life, such as time with family and loved ones. It’s a tradition older than America...

Of all the cultures and customs that are celebrated during the winter holidays, however, Kwanzaa is one that rarely receives rightful recognition. It’s one that was created for black folks, by black folks. The black-ass holiday with the candles that never really got fully explained in school.

That's why this year, we've decided to better embrace the holiday. This week, we're launching #EmbracingKwanzaa — an original series by Grits & Gospel and exclusively distributed through Blavity that is dedicated to putting a spotlight the importance of Kwanzaa's seven principles and how embracing them can better lead to our collective progress.

Here’s a brief history lesson of the holiday: Kwanzaa was born out of the Black Nationalist movement in the 1960s and espouses the belief that black people comprise a nation that seeks to develop and maintain a black identity. It is a holiday that aims to drive social, political, and economic empowerment of black communities and people. A cultural revolution of sorts - all about Identity, purpose, and direction - which, in Trump’s America, are a matter of survival if you ask us.

If you’re like most people, you may not be a Kwanzaa “expert” but, hopefully, you will be better-acquainted by this time next week. Here are the seven days of Kwanzaa, each representing a different principle in Swahili:

  • Umoja: Unity
  • Kujichagulia: Self-Determination
  • Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
  • Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
  • Nia: Purpose
  • Kuumba: Creativity
  • Imani: Faith

Kwanzaa can be celebrated in many ways. To commemorate it here at Grits & Gospel and on Blavity,  we’re going to release one piece each day that reflects on corresponding principle and the lessons we can learn from it. Ultimately, we hope that fostering conversations around these critically important principles will bring more joy and meaning to your holiday — and your lives. We’re glad to have you along for the ride. Stay tuned.

- Grits & Gospel

P.S. - We’ve brought along our friend Sherman Winfield to illustrate each of the days to so be on the lookout for original G&G artwork to accompany each piece.

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Inspired junk science from a group of friends whom occasionally have a lot to say.