Thursday, January 3, 2013


the best food i ve had in a long time
mamma k live food specialist

Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble\
 Kwanzaa was established during a time period when African Americans were involved in a cultural evolution. Prior to this movement which would have begun in the early 1960’s visible African American culture had been limited to the experience of slavery and poverty. Founders of this cultural evolution had become very concerned with the negative impact that these facets of American culture would have on their children and their communities. Thus, collectively and independently a nationwide movement had been born and it cross referenced all components of culture. Kwanzaa, Jambo Means Hello, The National Black Theatre, Central Harlem Montessori Project, Afro centricity and Odunde are all examples of what the cultural evolution produced. Children were given traditional West African Names, Independent African American schools were founded and rites of passages were structured. It was an extremely successful strategy. The mission of this movement was to provide the African American community with literature, art, spirituality that goes beyond the history of slavery and explores the importance of Africa and the accomplishments of African American achievers in this country before, during and after being enslaved. Africa was no longer presented as a dark and unwanted place but a Continent that was rich in heritage, culture and resources.  This year I attended an awesome Kwanzaa celebration held at the Imhotep Institute, a charter    school in Germantown, Pa. founded by Christine Wiggins. The event was very well attended, there were a plethora of artisans whom sold thier crafts from crochet hats, homemade soaps, and self-published books and healing herbal concoctions. The cafeteria was adorned with delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes, finger foods and nutritious drinks. One vegan food vendor Mamma K an elder in the living food lifestyle says; “my introduction or education in diet and nutrition began over 40 years ago with the Nation of Islam and the guide book Eat to Live, by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.”  “I have since evolved my practice to natural food living and host occasional vegan food prep workshops and a Friday vegan cafĂ© at my home in Willow Grove, Pa. Another outstanding vendor that embraced the spirit of this Kwanzaa celebration was Carolyn Griggs a Hospital Administrator who custom makes pens out of clay. Her creative company Posh Penique began with” a dream”, she explained. She followed through and it translated into very interesting characture pens that resemble African masks and everyday people. The auditorium was filled with drumming and dances by the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble. Robert Dickerson, founder of Unity Community Center and The Universal Dance and Drum Ensemble was actually the Host of this event. “We have been performing for Dr.Karenga for 14 years now, “Dickerson reflects.” He actually hires our performance arts company to present before he lectures and it is an honor.”  “ This was a historic event and it is important that we engage the youth and the entire community in hearing and meeting an African American scholar and visionary.” Dickerson continues. Dr. Maulana Karenga Kwanzaa founder and developer, was the last to speak and he stood at the podium as a very powerful figure. The audience was alert, at the edge of thier seats and hung off of his every word , some shouted yes and others swayed back and forth as he spoke.” Kwanzaa should be a way of life, a daily celebration of who we are as a people.” “We must remain connected to our African roots and embrace our entire heritage.” Dr. Karenga emphasized.  In practicing values and systems that mirror greatness we will reflect that greatness in our lives and in our communities is at the core of Dr. Karenga’s message this evening. Kuumbaa which means creativity is the 6th principal that was being commemorated. This event in its entirety reflected all of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, an effective collaboration of committed individuals, die –hards to preserving, empowering African American Youth, Families and Communities. Developers of tools to assist in sustain a holistic African American Culture.