From last December 26th:
First off, here's Neil Gaiman explaining what the hell Boxing Day is:(Basically it's the day you eat leftovers and sprawl a lot, named after the Victorian custom of servants getting their holiday "boxes" -- gifts of money -- the day after Christmas.)
Parentheses left in because it was a parenthetical remark.[Kwanzaa was created t]o introduce and reinforce the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles and through this, introduce and reaffirm communitarian values and practices which strengthen and celebrate family, community and culture. These seven communitarian African values are: Umoja (Unity), Kuji-chagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
Really should stop treating Kwanzaa like the punchline for a joke one of these days. I mean, I understand the motivation -- same as I understand the motivation behind creating faux-African names -- and just because I don't agree with how this is being expressed. . .
While I'm here, though, there are several valid critiques that can be offered against my writing about the Miss Vietnam USA pageant; using the words/phrases "male gaze," "objectification," "exoticism" and/or "fetishized". . . really isn't going to help anyone, anywhere, but if it makes you feel good, go for it.
Update: The only reason I'm not declaring today Talk Like A Marxist-Feminist Day is because it would be a violation of the spirit of Umoja. Well, that, and Michelle would kick my rusty butt, and she's enabling my unhealthy obsession with Audrey Tatou.
Update: On faux-African names and ghetto fabulousness, from Jaheim: Still Ghetto - PopMatters Music Review:
Nowhere is Still Ghetto's luster more on display than on the fabulous lead single "Fabulous". "Fabulous" is short for "ghetto fabulous", that ghetto survival mode that has been elevated to a level of high style. "Ghetto fabulousness" has often been an excuse for some folks (the folks, if you know what I mean) to celebrate the absurdity of ghetto life (see anything by the Big Tymers). But "Fabulous", written by producer Kay Gee and Balewa Muhammad (of the Transitions), is more in the vein of the "way out of no way" spirit that has defined so much of post-Middle Passage black life -- creative transcendence over the absurd and the ridiculous. Against the backdrop of those folks who think dysfunctional behaviors are positive attributes (no really, anything by the Big Tymers), "Fabulous" is truly inspiration. The song gets much of its inspirational power from a subtle chop of the opening piano (likely a celeste) riff from Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes's classic "Wake Up Everybody" (1976), itself a call for "ghetto renewal". On the song's sing-sing chorus Jaheim riffs defiantly about the folks (our folks if you feelin' me on this) who "spend up all our dough on them chromie things / Named our kids them funny names" and have "pre-paid cellies for local calls" -- the folks who use pre-paid phone cards and cell phones because they can't afford to have their regular service turned back on or who bequeath their kids with names like "Shaniqua" or "Dequan", guaranteeing that they will never be mistaken for anybody else (it's about doin' you, dun), while invoking some faux-mother-land regality.
Most telling about "Fabulous" is the line in the bridge where Ja sings "we got love for y'all, but y'all don't love us". While it would be easy to perceive the line as directed to white folks, anybody familiar with Chris Rock's now legendary diatribe about "niggers and black folk" know that Ja's flow is directed at some of the folks who think "ghetto fabulousness" is more a threat to national (Negro) security than the Patriot Act.
If this ain't your tribe, chances are you still ain't gonna understand.
I'm feeling Umoja today. Any questions, no matter how ignant you think they might be? Feel free to ask.