December 27, 2008

Kwanzaa’s future uncertain after Obama win

The impact Barak Obama's election as the first black U.S. president will have on the African-American holiday Kwanzaa is unclear, a filmmaker says.

The Black Candle director M.K. Asante Jr., whose documentary was about Kwanzaa, said the election of Obama could significantly alter Kwanzaa at the presidential level, The Independent reported Saturday.

Obviously, there is already a tradition of addressing Kwanzaa in the White House, which was started by Bill Clinton, and has been continued by George Bush, he said. But it will be interesting to see if President Obama takes it up a notch.

Tulivu Jadi of the Los Angeles African American Cultural Institution insists that Obama's accomplishment will likely not significantly alter Kwanzaa, which began Friday. He compared the holiday situation to the election of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who was of Irish descent.

Kwanzaa existed before Obama ran for office, its values have been around for thousands of years, and it will be celebrated long into the future, Jadi told the British newspaper. People did not stop celebrating St. Patrick's Day when Kennedy was elected.