The holiday season is in full swing and while millions around the world celebrated the traditional Christmas holiday, Kwanzaa, which kicks off Wednesday, presents another opportunity to be festive.
The seven-day festival, which was created by Black studies professor Dr. Maulana “Ron” Karenga in 1966, offers seven tenets intended to honor life. It also reminds the Black diaspora during this time of year that there’s an alternative to the highly-commercialized holiday of Christmas.
Unlike Christmas, Kwanzaa doesn’t cost anything! All that is required to memorialize the seven-day holiday is a kinara and seven candles. Beginning on December 26, each candle is lit to represent a different principle of Kwanzaa, including umoja or unity; kujichagulia or self-determination; ujima or collective work and responsibility; ujamaa or cooperative economics; nia or purpose; kuumba or creativity; and imani, which means faith.
For those celebrating the Kwanzaa holiday with friends and family, and love television like we do, we’ve selected seven TV shows that embody its principles. So get together, get cozy, and get ready to infuse your Kwanzaa festivities with some intentional, informative, and entertaining television.
Unity (Umoja) - This Is Us
Now in it’s third season, This Is Us tells the story of a family
that sticks together and honors connection in good and bad times. It affirms the power of belonging to a tribe and celebrates the special bond that comes with claiming others as your own. Actor Sterling K. Brown and actress Susan Kelechi Watson are part of the wonderful cast that brings this multi-general story to life each week and touches our hearts in the process.
Stream it now on HULU
Beth and Randall Pearson, 'This Is Us'
Self-determination (Kujichagulia) - Atlanta
Created by and starring Donald Glover, Atlanta tells the story of two cousins
who are determined to use rap music as a means to elevate themselves and make life better for their families. Times are hard for college dropout “Earn” and his rapper cousin “Paper Boi,” but they believe that better times are just around the corner – they just have to keep believing and working toward that dream of success. The critically-acclaimed series stars Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz. It'll return for its much-anticipated third season in 2019.
Stream now on Amazon Prime
Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima) - GLOW
When women come together with passion and purpose they are virtually unstoppable, aren’t they? This Netflix original series set in the 1980s depicts a group of women, who audition and are selected to be a part of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling). Now in its second season, the nostalgic comedy has folks raving about its themes of sisterhood and “girl power.”
Available now on Netflix
Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa) - Queen Sugar
Based on the novel by the same name by Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar follows three siblings
– Charley, Nova, and Ralph Angel Bordelon (played by Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Rutina Wesley and Kofi Siriboe) – who must fight to keep their late father’s sugarcane farm out of the hands of the Landry family, who used to own the Bordelon’s as slaves. Armed with a propensity for business and a burning desire to make her deceased daddy proud, Charley leads the charge to rally the community and convince the local farmers to come together and fight back against the Landry’s, who will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo. Queen Sugar
, returning to Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network and executive-produced by Ava DuVernay, will enter its fourth season in 2019.
Steam it on WatchOwn.tv
Purpose (Nia) - Westside
This reality TV show tells the story of nine ambitious musicians on a mission to create a live show that will showcase their talents and take them to the next level. The preparation and dedication required by these strangers to accomplish the daunting task of creating something spectacular is intense, but the journey is charged with palpable energy and good music. At the end, when they accomplish what they set out to and come out on top, you are left inspired.
Watch it on Netflix
Creativity (Kuumba) - The Bold Type
Inspired by the life of a former Cosmopolitan
magazine editor-in-chief, this Freeform series shows three girlfriends on the brink of making it big in the magazine industry. It’s nonstop drama and laughs as we see them trying to stand out and make their mark in a fast-paced environment where creativity rules. To make it in this game, and to survive in New York City, you have to be creative and these three young women embody the essence of that as they thrive in their chosen careers – social media director, editorial fashion assistant, and journalist.
Stream now on HULU
Faith (Imani) - God Friended Me (CBS)
This comedy-drama series follows the life of podcast host Miles (played by Brandon Michael Hall
), as he grapples with spirituality and his religious beliefs. If you don’t believe in God, it’s an even farther stretch of the imagination to think that God could actually send you a friend request on Facebook, but in this show Miles experiences just that and his life is immediately altered by a series of encounters with perfect strangers who he ends up helping. Joe Morton stars in this series as Miles’ father, a pastor, who helps him explore the possibility that just maybe, God is indeed real.
Stream now on VUDU
or Amazon Prime.
Mary Kouw/CBS via Getty Images