December 26 marks the annual start of the celebration of Kwanzaa. The holiday, observed until January 1, was created by professor and activist Maulana Karenga in 1966 to honor African heritage in African-American culture.
Kwanzaa revolves around seven core principles: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). Unfortunately, the holiday is still largely underrepresented in mainstream media.
In honor of this week-long celebration, here are 4 television episodes that celebrate the spirit of Kwanzaa.
1. A Rugrats Kwanzaa
Following the trend set with Halloween, Christmas and Hanukkah, Rugrats devoted an entire episode to the celebration of Kwanzaa. This festive episode centers around Susie Carmichael (Cree Summer), who gets a visit from her aunt who wants to celebrate Kwanzaa with the Carmichael family.
2. The Proud Family
A cult favorite among ’90 kids, The Proud Family brought the spirit of Kwanzaa to audiences in the 2001 episode, “Seven Days Of Kwanzaa.” The episode follows the Proud family and the homeless family they encounter while out Christmas shopping. Penny invites the mysterious family into their home, where they end up teaching the Proud family about Kwanzaa. Apropos of the Disney cartoon, the “Seven Days Of Kwanzaa” features voice-over work from a bevy of guest stars like Vivica A. Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, Raven-Symoné and Pat Crawford Brown.
3. Everybody Hates Chris
In this third season episode of Everybody Hates Chris, patriarch Julius (Terry Crews) convinces his family to celebrate Kwanzaa on the basis that it’s cheaper than Christmas.
4. Sesame Street: Kwanzaa
Before his breakout role on Everybody Hates Chris, Tyler James Williams and his brother Tyrel Jackson Williams celebrated Kwanzaa with their family on an episode of Sesame Street. Throughout the clip, the Williams brothers are shown lighting candles, playing a drum set and celebrating the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
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