The Kansas City Black United Front (KCBUF) will sponsor its 39th Annual Citywide Kwanzaa Celebration from December 26th through January 1st. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Kwanzaa 2020 will have an entirely different look from previous celebrations. This year’s celebration will be a virtual one. Patrons will have access to the Kwanzaa events via a link that will take them to the celebration each evening. The program each evening will begin at 7:00 p.m. Because the celebration will be a virtual one, for the first time hosts and participants for some programs will be from other cities in the country.
The Theme for Kwanzaa 2020 is “Tell Them We Are Rising. “We think that this is an appropriate theme for this year’s Kwanzaa celebration,” stated Kwanzaa Coordinator Jawanza Hardy. “These words from Richard Wright capture the resilience Black people have displayed throughout what has been a challenging year. We have held on to our identity and our history in the face of this global pandemic. In these difficult times we know that coming together in a unified manner is the only way we will achieve our liberation.”
December 26, Umoja (Unity) – The first night of Kwanzaa will be hosted by the Kansas City chapter of the National Black United Front and the Traditional Music Society (TMS). TMS is an organization that has provided African arts and culture to disadvantaged youngsters in Kansas City’s urban core. Their program will feature their main ensemble, Soundz of Africa, displaying authentic music and dance from the great Mali Empire.
The Traditional Music Society is under the directorship of Bird Fleming and Ima Terri Brown, choreographer. In addition to the TMS performance, the Charles Miller Black Liberation Award will be presented to Darryl Chamberlain. Darryl is the founder of the A Flat Orchestra, a group made up of urban youth that he started a few years ago designed to provide an opportunity for youth to learn music and learn how to play instruments.
December 27, Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) – The host for this evening’s program will be the Houston chapter of the National Black United Front. NBUF-Houston is a founding chapter of the organization serving the people since 1980. “ Beyond The Mask, Serving The People In A Time Of Crisis” is the subtheme for the night.
The chapter will highlight some of the work that they have been doing as examples of serving the people. Kofi Taharka is the local chair as well as the national chair of NBUF.
December 28, Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) – The host for this evening’s program will be the Westmoreland, VA chapter of the National Black United Front. The Westmoreland chapter was formed four years ago by former members of the Washington, D.C. chapter. The evening’s program will consist of presentations from local organizers on their community work and will include a divine message from Babalawo, an Ifa priest.
December 29, Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) –. This night will be hosted by the Buy Black Empowerment Initiative (BBEI). The program will consist of a panel discussion featuring three local Black business owners.
They will discuss topics such as what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, overcoming barriers to Blacks owning a business and other issues relating to business ownership. The panel will provide valuable information to those who are in business and those who are contemplating becoming an entrepreneur. It will also provide an opportunity to expose young people to the possibilities of entrepreneurship. December 30, Nia (Purpose) – The host for this evening’s program will be the KC Melting Pot Theater. KC Melting Pot Theatre began in 2013 as a manifest vision of its founder and Executive Director, Harvey Williams, to use theater to educate and uplift Black communities to understand the rich contributions that African Americans make to the American theater landscape. For the 2020 Kwanzaa program, KCMPT is spotlighting the artist Khrystal Coppage. Khrystal is a singer/song writer. She has produced several recordings under her stage name Khrystal.
December 31st, Kuumba (Creativity) – This night of Kwanzaa will be hosted by the American Jazz Museum, located in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. Since its inception in 1997, the Museum has hosted thousands of students, scholars, music fans with over 400 performances, education programs, special exhibitions and community events. The evening’s program will feature a 25 minute documentary on the history of Black migration to Kansas City and its subsequent contribution to the city’s culture in the early 1900’s. This will be followed by jazz performances from local musicians.
January 1, Imani (Faith) – The seventh day of Kwanzaa will be hosted by the Ankhsgiving Collective of Queens, New York. Their program will consist of African dance and drumming, a youth panel, conscious hip hop and video clips of their work. There will also be a presentation by motivational speaker Ryan Harvey.
A new feature of the celebration this year will be the Kwanzaa Motorcade. The motorcade will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, December 26th, which is the first day of Kwanzaa. The cars will begin lining up at 3:30 and the motorcade will begin promptly at 4:00. Cars will assemble in the parking lot west of The Paseo on the south side of 18th street. The motorcade will travel through the urban core south to 75th street and then back to the starting point. The link for access to the week-long events is twitch.tv/ nbufkc. For more information please contact 816-866- 3025 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.