Kwanzaa Begins

KwanzaaGraphicKwanzaa is a week long celebration observed by African-American and Pan-African communities. It begins on December 26 and ends on January 1st. It is a celebration of family, community, and culture.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of African Studies at California State University. It was created as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African culture and historical heritage. It is based upon ancient African “first fruits of the harvest” celebrations and incorporates the strong work ethics, values and practices established within the African culture. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning first fruits of the harvest. 

Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa focuses on one of the seven principles (or values) of Kwanzaa as established by Dr. Karenga. These seven principles are:

  1. Umoja (Unity): To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  3. 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.
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  5. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  6. Kuumba (Creativity): To do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and  beneficial than we inherited it.
  7. 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.

Mariah Carey and the Roots Adorably Sing ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ on ‘Fallon’

Who needs chestnuts and an open fire when something this heartwarming is available to stream over and over again until your clicker finger is reduced to a coal-like nub? Last night, backstage before taping Tuesday’s episode of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, the show’s lovable host and the best house band on television (the Roots, duh) scraped together a bunch of toy instruments and went in on a cover of Mariah Carey’s awesome Christmas anthem, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Except that after Fallon delivered the opening line, Carey herself sat down on the piano bench next to him and (thankfully) took over singing duties. There were other surprises, too, like the totes adorbs four-child choir that pops up to add overdubs every so often, the chuckle that Carey lets out at the 3:08 mark, and the fact that ?uestlove is playing a wooden clacker with his afro pick. The song is already one of the few latter-day holiday jams that deserves to be in heavy rotation amongst the classics, and if this version doesn’t fill your soul stocking with all kinds of happy stuff then may your real stocking stay empty when Santa flies over. Just for kicks, here are the performance credits:

Jimmy Fallon – wood block, tambourine, bass drum, kazoo
Mariah Carey – vocals
?uestlove – wooden clacker w/ afro pick
Mark Kelley – Fisher Price xylophone
Kamal Gray – recorder
James Poyser – melodica
Captain Kirk Douglas – ukulele
Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson – kazoo
Frank Knuckles – bongos
Black Thought – sleigh bells