Happy Kwanzaa sign with candles

Happy Kwanzaa sign with candles ()

Everyone is familiar with Christmas classics such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “A Christmas Story” and the several versions of “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” as well as modern classics such as “Elf” and “Bad Santa,” but for those who celebrate Kwanzaa or just want to learn more about the holiday, there are specials out there for them too. (Specials are listed in no particular order, except for the first two, which are my favorites).

“Seven Days of Kwanzaa” from the television series, “The Proud Family” (Originally aired December 2001)

Kwanza did not get a lot of media attention, nor did I learn much about it in school. However, Disney Channel (and Nickelodeon) changed that for me as a child. Middle schooler Penny Proud learns to be less materialistic and the seven principles of Kwanzaa when her family invites a unhoused family to come share the Christmas and Kwanzaa holidays with them. You can watch “Seven Days of Kwanza” on Disney+.

“A Rugrats Kwanzaa” from the television series, “Rugrats” (Originally aired December 2001)

Much like the Pickles taught us about Chanukah in 1996, Susie Carmichael uses child-friendly language and story-telling devices to educate the Pickles (and us) about Kwanzaa and self-esteem. Depending on location, you can watch “A Rugrats Kwanzaa” on Paramount+ or Hulu.

Both Kwanzaa episodes of “The Proud Family” and “Rugrats” were nominated for the 2002 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/Special.

“A Tale of Two Santas” and “Kwanzaa” in the “Futurama Holiday Spectacular” from the television series “Futurama” (Originally aired December 2001 and November 2010)

You get a three-in-one holiday special with these Futurama episodes. In “A Tale of Two Santas,” audiences are treated to a Kwanzaa-bot voiced by Coolio. In “Kwanzaa,” there a is lack of beeswax available for Kwanzaa candles in New New York and the gang has to go on a space adventure to get beeswax from giant killer space bees. Parents may want to watch these episodes before watching with children. You can watch “A Tale of Two Santas” and the “Futurama Holiday Spectacular” on fuboTV, Comedy Central, and Hulu Plus.

“Elmo's World: Happy Holidays!” (Released on video in September 2002)

Younger children will love spending time with Elmo as he learns about all the holidays and does a Kwanzaa dance with fellow dancers. You can rent or buy “Elmo’s World: Happy Holidays!” on Prime Video.

“Everybody Hates Kwanzaa” from the television series “Everybody Hates Chris” (Originally December 2007)

Julius attempts to convince the family to celebrate Kwanzaa when he comes to believe that it will be a much more frugal celebration than Christmas while his son, Chris, is tasked with helping someone less fortunate over the holidays for a school project. Parents may want to watch the episode before watching with the kids. You can watch “Everybody Hates Kwanzaa” on Peacock, Hulu and Paramount+.

“The Black Candle” (Originally released November 2008)

This is the first feature film about Kwanzaa and is narrated by Maya Angelou. This film utilizes Kwanzaa “as a vehicle to explore and celebrate the African American experience,” from the 1960s through the present, according to the film’s website. The film is not rated so parents may want to view before watching with children. You can watch “The Black Candle” on Prime Video, Tubi and Amazon Freevee.

Bonus: “Kwanzaa is briefly mentioned in “the Boondocks” episode “A Huey Freeman Christmas” (Originally aired December 2005), when Huey’s teacher attempts to teach Kwanzaa from a textbook. However, the episode primarily focuses on main character, Huey Freeman directing a Christmas play. Parents may want to watch the episode before watching with children because, much like the kids from South Park, these kids do not use kid-friendly language. You can watch “A Huey Freeman Christmas” on HBO Max.

Did we miss any of your favorite Kwanzaa specials? Kwanzaa is from December 26, 2023 to January 1, 2024.

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