Bringing Kwanzaa to the Masses the African-American Holiday Goes Mainstream with a TV Special, a Postage Stamp and Merchandise - but at What Price?
Miner, Lisa Friedman, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Lisa Friedman Miner Daily Herald Staff Writer
A postage stamp pays tribute. Hallmark has taken notice. And now even the "Rugrats" have jumped on the bandwagon.
Kwanzaa - until recently a barely understood African-American holiday - has gone mainstream.
"You know when the marketers are on to it, it's getting big," says Anthony Daniels-Halisi, executive director of Friends for WVON radio and producer of Chicago's annual pre-Kwanzaa event.
But some say commercialization only cheapens the true meaning of the holiday.
Kwanzaa began 35 years ago in California. What was once the domain of black activists is now celebrated by millions.
Public events draw bigger crowds each year. Museums include Kwanzaa items in their decorations. TV stations broadcast greetings during the seven-day holiday.
Numbers are imprecise and hard to come by, though some estimate that more than 20 million celebrate the holiday. Some African- Americans say all their friends have come to celebrate Kwanzaa. Others claim they know no one who has truly embraced the holiday.
Still, for a variety of reasons, blacks and whites are taking notice.
Maybe it's just another sign of the times - drastically different from the black power/civil rights era that inspired Kwanzaa in the first place.
Maybe it's corporate America's attempt to please African- …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Bringing Kwanzaa to the Masses the African-American Holiday Goes Mainstream with a TV Special, a Postage Stamp and Merchandise - but at What Price?. Contributors: Miner, Lisa Friedman - Author. Newspaper title: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL). Publication date: December 20, 2001. Page number: 1. © 2009 Paddock Publications. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.
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