Every year people tell me not to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it is time to celebrate the principles of Kwanzaa. I'm from Los Angeles, and Kwanzaa is huge! Well, at least it used to be. Since about the late 90s, event coordinators of Kwanzaa in Leimert Park have been beefing over control of the event due to money conflicts.
Oh yes, Kwanzaa is as capitalistic as Santa Claus and Christmas in some communities. In Los Angeles, since is West Coasters are far from regular cultural events (so says those in the East); black cultural events usually are well attended. But Kwanzaa has this funny, sad legacy that encompasses a trail of tears and blood.
I have said my piece behind closed doors, arguing with my friends who know the sordid history of Kwanzaa and its "creator" Maulana Karenga.
For the most part, people in Los Angeles are mum about the controversies around the history of Kwanzaa for two main reasons: they don't know or they stay diplomatic in efforts not rekindle a feud that still exists between former members of black power organizations of the 60s & 70s who often clashed; especially the US Organization and the Black Panther Party.
Of course this was all fueled by government intelligence that have documents showing its infiltration and divisive tactics within and between the two groups.
The US Organization, interestingly, the only black power organization that survived the neutralization by COINTELPRO in Los Angeles, operate with a very uhm, interesting defense mechanism. If you say one thing that challenges them, they will attempt to find you and silence you with insidious attacks. Believe me I've seen and heard them.
Moreover, the US Organization and the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles were black power version of Bloods & Crips. They weren't fighting over drugs or territory, but ideological agenda and political power that escalated into the killings of John J. Huggins, 23, and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, 26 on the campus of UCLA in 1969. (Read this 2008 Article regarding the shootings)
|Dr. Kwaku Person-Lynn|
Dr. Kwaku Person-Lynn is a well-respected historian, musicologist and cultural researcher would send out commentaries regarding black history. As an Angeleno who has been around for a minute, he challenges historical documents by asserting that Maulana Kaurenga did not start Kwanzaa, but pilfered the concept from women in his US Organization. These women created cultural rituals/traditions around Christmas for the children of US Organization members as an alternative.
In the vein of US Organization misogynistic and patriarchal hierarchy, the women's contributions were disregarded and Karenga assumed the heir to the tradition. Yes, the US Organization like a lot of black power organizations (Black Panthers, Black Arts Movement, etc.) were indeed abusive and dismissive of the women; hence the women's main asset was to give up the ass and have babies for the revolution. But that's another talk for another day.
Nevertheless, the infant known as Kwanzaa needs to get a maternity and paternity test ASAP.