Weekly Trip to the Library
The Black Candle
By M.K. Asante
Narrated by Maya Angelou
Written and directed by M.K. Asante, the movie is narrated by former U.S. Poet Laureate Maya Angelou and features contemporary interviews with Karenga, rapper Chuck D, pro football Hall of Famer Jim Brown and numerous other luminaries who weigh in on the value of Kwanzaa and its seven principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States honoring African heritage and culture. It is observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. Kwanzaa consists of seven days of celebration, featuring activities such as candle-lighting of a kinara and pouring of libations, and culminating in a feast and gift giving. It was created by Ron Karenga and was first celebrated from December 26, 1966, to January 1, 1967.
The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa," or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba - "The Seven Principles of Blackness"), which 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, as follows:
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.
How are you celebrating Kwanzaa with children?