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Movie Mom

Kwanzaa Documentary: ‘The Black Candle’

posted by Nell Minow

The documentary The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration, narrated by Maya Angelou, uses the holiday of Kwanzaa to explore the African-American experience. The holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana studies, as a way to recognize and celebrate the unique experience of African-Americans. Family, history, and culture are a part of the seven-day celebration that begins the day after Christmas. Each night a candle is lit to symbolize one of the principles of Kwanzaa:


* Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We,” or “I am because We are.”
* Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.
* Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
* Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
* Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
* Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
* Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.


The documentary traces the evolution of the holiday from the Black Power Movement in the 1960s to its a global celebration with over 40 million participants. Happy Kwanzaa!

  • Your Name

    This is a great way for bringing our people together and celebrate our own holiday, I am from Kenya and understand all the kwanzaa principles very well.Our children should be taught this words and meaning so that they can understand the African American culture.What we need is during this time of the year we can have a tv show like on TV one station and get our people to learn and know how to apply this knowledge to their communities.

  • Your Name

    My favorite Buddhist wisdom: ” We plan. The Universe laughs ”

  • natasha

    The Lincoln Theatre and The Adinkra Group proudly presents
    Washington DC’s Premiere Kwanzaa Celebration
    The 1st Annual Umoja on U: A Kwanzaa Celebration
    at the Historic Lincoln Theatre
    hosted by Juanita “Busy Bee” Britton & EZ Street
    Sunday, December 26, 2010
    doors at 5 pm
    program starts at 6 pm
    with performances by:
    Farafina Kan
    Maimouna Youssef
    Ballou High School Choir
    Honoring the following for their work Washington DC promoting community and unity:
    Kenny Barnes [Reaching Out to Others Together (ROOT, Inc.)]
    Ron Clark [Regional Addiction Prevention (RAP), Incorporated]
    Melvin Deal [African Heritage Dancers and Drummers]
    Carol Foster [DC Youth Ensemble]
    Kymone Freeman [Black L.U.V. (love, unity & vision) Festival]
    Ayo Handy-Kendi (African-American Holiday Expo and Foundation)
    Brenda Jones [Parklands Community Center]
    Bernida Thompson [Roots Positive Action Center and Roots Public Charter School]
    General Admission – $20
    Seniors (65 & over) – $15
    Children (12 & under) – 10
    For Tickets contact:
    The Lincoln Theatre Box Office
    For media inquires, contact:
    Natasha Brown
    Think Brown INK

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