It’s time to get ready for another EPIC Kwanzaa Celebration. Nashville is one of the nation’s only cities with 7 active days of Kwanzaa. Mark your calendars now, because you don’t wanna miss out on the amazing activities scheduled for this year’s annual holiday observations in Nashville December 26, 2019 through January 1, 2020.
The 1st Day of Kwanzaa celebrates UMOJA, or “Unity.” This Kwanzaa Season kicks off with a Kwanzaa Ball on Thursday, December 26. That’s right, a formal event at Venue 109, located at 109 Cude Lane in Madison, TN 37115 from 7:00 – 11:00 pm. Tickets: $25 presale; $30 at the door for the event themed: “Black Gold: A Timeless People” with dress code black, brown, or nude as they honor CommUNITY leaders, have interactive exhibits, food, and fun. There will be raffles throughout the night and a Best Dressed competition. Special Note: Children are welcome from 7:00 until 8:00, and at 8:15 a shuttle and chaperones will take the children to Rivergate Skating Center, which will be transformed into Wakanda Zone, their youth space for celebration of heritage and fun. Youth tickets for that are $15. RSVP at: http://bit.ly/BlackGold19
The 2nd Day of Kwanzaa- KUJICHAGULIA or “Self-determination” is once again hosted by the African American Cultural Alliance Nashville. This FREE major annual family Kwanzaa Celebration will be held at St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, 2008 Ed Temple Blvd. (28th Avenue North), Nashville, Tennessee 37208 on Friday, December 27, 2019 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM. You are encouraged to bring a dish for the potluck and enjoy the food, crafts, and music.
The 3rd Day of Kwanzaa- UJIMA, or “Collective Work and Responsibility” is hosted by The Great Debate Honor Society. Along with the African Muslim Association of Nashville (AMAN) and Muslim American Cultural Association (MACA), they will present a play based on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) on Saturday, December 28. “The Meeting” will be performed at St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church, 901 – 40th Avenue North at 6 pm. Jared Dalton will play the part of Malcolm X and Keith Pitts will portray MLK with an introduction by Ken Woodard as Rashad. “The Meeting” is directed by H. Devreux Brady. This is a play for everyone with the desire to learn and understand the relationship of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Meeting” is presented in advance of the 4th annual Africana Muslim Conference, to be held February 7-9, 2020. This play serves as a preparatory fundraiser. Tickets are $10 Adults, $5.00 children ages 3-17, and are available at the Muslim American Cultural Center, 1513 Jefferson Street on Fridays, from 12 noon until 3pm or by calling 615-431-1707. Doors open at 5:00 pm; show starts at 6:00 pm; panel discussion follows at 8:00 pm. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase your tickets in advance.
The 4th day of Kwanzaa – UJAMAA, or “Cooperative Economics” will celebrate the 4th Annual Ujamaa Black Business Expo, co-sponsored by Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore, on Sunday, December 29, 2019, from 12:00 Noon – 7:00 pm at Youth About Business / Manna From Heaven, 3510 West Hamilton Avenue / Nashville, TN 37218. The theme for the event is “Keep the Black dollar going!” Proceeds from Vendor fees will benefit Nashville’s Youth About Business.
On the 5th day of Kwanzaa, NIA or “Purpose” is well served at Free Family Game Night at McKissack Middle School, 915 – 38th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee 37209 from 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm on Monday, December 30, 2019. Join in the free event with food and fun, like Hip-Hop Charades (social relationships), a class on adulting (Knowledge 101), learning how to eat better (mental health), and a good ole’ fashioned game of dodge ball (physical health). Transportation provided by calling or texting 615.512.0542.
The 6th day of Kwanzaa, KUUMBA, or “Creativity” is celebrated with writers’ BLOCK on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at The Village Church 301 Madison Street, Madison, TN 37115 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. Within us all lies the power to create and the ability to inspire. Join in and explore the many ways that creation can manifest in our lives, including dance, spoken word, and drumming. This unique “A Creative People” event is free, but donations are encouraged.
The 7th and final day of Kwanzaa, IMANI, or “Faith” will be observed at the Imani Night Cypher Finale at the Pruitt Branch Public Library, 117 Charles Davis Blvd., Nashville, TN at 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm on Tuesday, January 1, 2020. The program will consist of educational programming for the whole family around the subjects of mental health, energy work, and hip-hop, featuring a panel of health professionals and breakout sessions for the young people that teach how hip-hop can heal. The intent is to help us all enter the new year and the new decade with our attention on our health.
Kwanzaa is a celebration designed to reflect on the ending year and prepare for the New Year through reflection and rededication to cultural unity. Professor Maulana Karenga created the observance and organized the ritualistic aspects of the week-long event and put them into place over 50 years ago. Kwanzaa celebrates what Karenga called the Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of African Heritage), consisting of what he called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world
The official theme for Kwanzaa 2019 is “Living Kwanzaa and the Seven Principles: An All-Seasons Celebration and Practice of the Good” and more details about Karenga and Kwanzaa can be found on this website: http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/
All events are free and open to the public, except on Thursday and Saturday. See the Kwanzaa Nashville Facebook page for details on all events and updates.
Originally conceived as a means for African Americans to identify with African culture and reaffirm familial and extended family values, the holiday has since expanded over the almost fifty years since its beginning. But at its core the holiday is about celebrating blackness, and the best way to do that is to buy Kwanzaa gifts and paraphernalia from black-owned businesses.
One such business is Alkebu-Lan Images, located near the Tennessee State University main campus on the corner of 28th and Jefferson Streets, or alternatively opposite the junction of Ed Temple Boulevard and John Merritt Boulevard. Yusef Harris opened the bookstore in 1986, and has continually offered items of interest for and about Africans and African Americans ever since in a variety of means.
The bookstore at 2721 Jefferson Street in Nashville features books, clothing, oils, dvds, jewelry and accessories, wall art, shea butter products, educational products, along with food items and other seasonal treats. Yusef also travels frequently to conferences, conventions, festivals, educational and cultural institutions and events as a vendor and occasionally as a speaker about Kwanzaa and other Africentric topics. The website, www.alkebulanimages.com is available 24/7 for customer convenience. The store hours and phone number are (615) 321-4111 Hours: 8am-6:30pm CST M-F; 8am-6pm CST Sat-Sun.
“The Osiris Papers” is available now at Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore. The phenomenal new book is subtitled “Reflections on the Life and Writings of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing” and is edited by Dr. Raymond Winbush and Dr. Denise Wright. The book challenges us to think far more deeply about the nature and origin of racism / white supremacy. Examining the pioneering work of Dr. Welsing, this volume benefits from its creators who are educators, theologians, entertainers, activists, and social scientists.
Their writings examine the Nine Areas of Racism / White Supremacy uncovered by Neely Fuller, Dr. Welsing’s mentor, which she expanded on over the course of her life. Together the contributors present reflections on Dr. Welsing’s life, research, the Cress Theory of Color Confrontation, and discussions on what she believed to be the most pernicious force on the planet – the system of racism / white supremacy. Contributors include (alphabetically) Harry Allen, Dr. Marimba Ani, Anthony T. Browder, Chuck D, Patrick Delices, Laini Mataka, Dr. Jeff Menzise, Dr. Wade Nobles, Yaa Asantewaa Nzingha, Pilar Jan Penn, Dr. Jose V. Pimienta-Bey, Dr. Ife Williams, Raymond A. Winbush, Dr. Conrad W. Worrill, Denise L.Wright, and Dr. Jeremiah Wright.
Having read the entire book, the current author of this article believes it to be a strong and vitally important addition to the library of any person who considers themselves to be “woke” and encourages you to pick up a copy (or more as gifts), especially during this Kwanzaa season. “The Osiris Papers” is the Alkebu-Lan Images Book of the Month, and you can get your copies now for 10% off during December. And if you don’t have Dr. Welsing’s classic book “The Isis Papers; The Keys to the Colors” it is highly recommended that you get it also.