Happy Kwanza’Cac: a brief and personal overview of Kwanzaa

Habari Gani! UMOJA (Unity)

It is the first day of Kwanzaa! This holiday is one that has always been dear to my heart. Since I was young my mom and I would prepare for the awesomeness that is Kwanzaa. However, I have realized there is a lack of awareness of Kwanzaa in the ‘Cac for a completely legitimate reason. If there was ever a thing for Black people, Kwanzaa is.

Founded in ’67 by Dr. Maulana Karenga through the Black Nationalist Movement, Kwanzaa served as holiday celebration for African-Americans to celebrate their history and culture instead of submitting to the dominant culture (Sorry ChrismaKuh). The celebration allowed Blacks to create their own holiday culture. It however is in no way a substitute for Christmas or Hanukkah (Sammy Davis Jr./Lenny Kravitz/ Slash). It is not a religious holiday but centered around the Nguzo Saba or Seven Principals (One for Each Day of the Week):

  1. Umoja (Unity): Showing togetherness, our the nation, race, community and family.
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): We create our identities, our success, history.
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To take on the problems and concerns of our own and create a communal effort to progress.
  4. Ujamaa: (Cooperative Economics): Maintain our communities businesses, shopping locally and black owned.
  5. Nia (Purpose): To return ourselves to our race’s greatness; taking our ancestry and reclaiming its strength
  6. Kuumba(Creativity): To leave the world more beautiful than we received it.
  7. Imani (Faith): Believing in the heart and passion of our community

The principals are in Swahili, an East African language  which is now a symbol of Pan-Africanism. It is that language that unites Black people all across the country. As a part of Kwanzaa, like the Menorah for Hanukkah or The Candles of Advent, Kinaras are lit with Pan-African Colored Candles ( 1 Black, 3 Green, 3 Red) for each day of Kwanzaa. There are also daily feasts as the name Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili word for “first fruits” or “harvest” .

Personally, I love Kwanzaa. As a child it meant 7 more days of presents, 7 more Christmases, 7 days of lighting candles. As a teen it meant, I had a Black Hanukkah with socks and other academic or smart kid gifts. As a young adult, it reminds me the power of the Black community. Despite any systematic inequality, or constant fighting for our rights. It reminds me that we all connected to the world in which we live. It is not a time for point blame or being angry. It is about glorifying an otherwise ignored part of the Black experience. It gives a space for my culture to be celebrated. I doubt there will be front page news or extreme commercialism but its an awesome holiday because it is just for us. There are rare moments when whole nations are united. We have the 4th of July but that’s only a day of unity. We as American of every race, should strive for the sense of community and togetherness that Kwanzaa offers. Its principles are reflected in any community where geographic, ethnic or otherwise. If there is an aspect of your identity you feel disconnected from, try to connect through these principles.

Stay Connected this holidays season.  For any more questions about Kwanzaa feel free to comment or email me personally at dodd.jayy@gmail.com / tweet at me @jayydodd on twitter.

EOQS (Excessively Overdressed Quad Stroll) + Winterfest

Winterfest activities were …. lacking snow this year. But to give PBoard credit, they did dedicate an entire weekend to fun things that Tufts students definitely got involved in – Fan the Fire on Saturday was packed (Go Jumbos!), the Winter Carnival was fun, the Bingo Night I went to Sunday night was also full (although I didn’t win. Anything.) and last night was the final event: Pancakes with President Monaco and ScatterShot in the Campus Center.

Gifford House...we aren't allowed to drink out of plastic water bottles, but President Monaco can use unsustainable decorations ALL NIGHT LONG

Bingo...well played PBoard. Not one of my friends won.

Scattershot! Always exciting. Find them Thursdays at the Burren in Davis Square.

And then Monday night was the EOQS (Excessively Overdressed Quad Stroll). Read about it on the Medford Patch HERE. EOQS was meant to replace our beloved 40 year old tradition of NQR, in which pale and cold and drunk Tufts students run around the quad naked.


As the Bacow years have come to a close, the time for NQR has certainly passed. We must embrace a tradition that suits the British sensibility Anthony Monaco brings with him. Dress classy: suits and dresses are encouraged. Peasants are cold, so stay warm. Running is so passé. How about a dignified stroll? Let’s celebrate final exams in style.Invite your friends!

Unfortch, by 10:45pm everyone was done strolling. There were a few people who ran in the nude body suits, and a few brave souls who wore just running shorts and/or sports bras and underwear (read: Wilderness, TMC, and  XC/track members). Unfortch I do not have those photos available (yet).

There was also an incredible amount of police activity that Tufts students were very clearly not happy about:

To be honest, it probably was totally unnecessary to have the emergency medical teams and various special forces on call. I lied. It WAS completely unnecessary.

Happy finals Jumbos!

Ill Fits is playing in NYC on 12/7


Remember Ill Fits, the band that combines members of Wesleyan bands Amazing Baby and MGMT? They’re playing a show on Wednesday…you should go.

Here’s the info:


Show Starts – 7:30. Ill Fits – 10:30.


Also playing:

– Ladybug Transistor – 830 (http://theladybugtransistor.com/)

– The Echo-Friendly – 730 (https://www.facebook.com/theechofriendly)
Wed, December 7, 2011
Doors: 7:30 pm
Mercury Lounge
New York, NY
*** Show is likely to sell out so buy TICKETS here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/00004758CCB9CC1A?brand=mercurylounge

This event is 21 and over

Bowdoin vs. Colby @ Bowdoin

In pictures:

Racing to the puck, Bowdoin up 2-0


Jorts were the spirit gear of choice


Still down, Colby suited up the alternates


Taking notes.*

*It’s not creepy if you don’t use flash.

Things quickly go downhill, rounding up the troops


Due to a highly unprofessional performance, dozens of children now no longer believe in the Mule. "OH YEAH?! WHO BRINGS THE GIFTS THEN?!"


"I can't, I just can't." #shitfemalebowdoinfanssay


We all know the real winner is whoever left in this

Would have liked to hear a few more renditions of “ugly chicks,” but I know the cadence can be hard to maintain.


On Friday Bowdoin beat Colby @Colby 6-2.