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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Black Student Union Annual Kwanzaa Celebration

Tis the season of holidays.

On December 8, the Black Student Center (BSC) on campus celebrated an African American holiday called Kwanzaa. Dr. Maulana Karenga created the celebration in 1966. Karenga used the holiday as a way to bring the African American community back together after the riots that happen in Los Angeles.

Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase, “Matunda ya Kwanzaa,” which means “first fruit” in Swahili. Kwanzaa is celebrated over a week’s time, starting the day after Christmas, December 26. The ritual of Kwanzaa starts with having a display on a table in the home that includes a decorative mat which has other symbols that are placed on top (such as corn, which symbolizes fertility in the family), and a candle holder (kinara) with seven candles.

Each candle represents a day of the week, as well as a word, and Umoja, with the black candle symbolizing unity. Starting from either side, there are three red candles and three green ones. There is a communal cup for pouring libations, gifts, a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag.

“Learning the significance and meaning behind Kwanzaa and all the principles were enlightening,” said Negi. “This was my first time at a Kwanzaa event, but I left with a lot of knowledge and the desire to celebrate it. The storytelling was awesome, too.”

The BSC held their Kwanzaa in the Integrated Science Complex building on the first floor and had a beautiful turnout. Shauna Pulley, the BSC coordinator, opened the night up, then passed the microphone to Valerie Stephens. Stephens told beautiful stories about African American ancestors being on the slave plantations and their journeys to freedom.

She also lead the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the whole room joining in with her. After Stephens finished singing and storytelling, Professor Tony Van Der Meer said a few eye-opening remarks and then passed the mic to his colleague, Professor Jemadari Kamara. Kamara taught the room a lesson on the history of Kwanzaa.

As he spoke about each day, he went over the list of principles of Kwanzaa. As Pulley organized students to come and light a candle, Pulley had her daughter talk about the last principle, which was a beautiful touch. At the end of the ceremony, the guests ate dinner from Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen on Columbus Avenue near the Northeastern University campus.