The Lessons of Kwanzaa, as Taught by TV

December 26th wasn't just Boxing Day; it also marked the first day of the pan-African holiday celebrating African culture known as Kwanzaa. Founded in the mid-1960s by Maulana Karenga, a black studies professor at Cal State Long Beach, this holiday lasts from the day after Christmas through January 2nd. Each of the 7 days is assigned a principle to be honored: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Just as Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, American TV is relatively new to trying to capitalize on it. We've managed to dig up 7 television attempts to incorporate Kwanzaa into holiday programming.

1. Sesame Street Means Double the Kwanzaa

In Season 34, Sesame Street produced a segment in which a child explained the traditions of Kwanzaa and how his family celebrates:

Later in that same season, Elmo showed off a traditional Kwanzaa dance:

2. Even Rugrats Can Celebrate Kwanzaa

In their 7th season, Nickelodeon's gang of ageless toddlers the Rugrats branched out from the Christmas holiday episode with "A Rugrats Kwanzaa." Tommy Pickles' neighbor Susie Carmichael gets a visit from her Great Aunt T., who came to teach the whole Carmichael family about Kwanzaa. Airing in 2001, this particular episode was one of the first on mainstream television to feature Kwanzaa. It also inspired the aptly titled book The Rugrats' First Kwanzaa.

3. In the Future, There Are Kwanzaa Robots

Futurama never dedicated an entire episode to the holiday, but in "A Tale of Two Santas," they introduced an entirely new Kwanzaa character. Kwanzaabot, as voiced by 90s rapper Coolio, shows up at the Conrads' Kwanzaa party to drop some traditional knowledge on their guests.

Hermes' Kwanzaa Party
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4. Kwanzaa Is Not Materialistic (Unlike the Holiday That Precedes It)

Based on the youth of Chris Rock, the show Everybody Hates Chris used Kwanzaa to heighten the notorious thriftiness of young Chris's father. The patriarch Julius announces that the family will celebrate Kwanzaa instead of Christmas that year - once he discovers Kwanzaa is a much more cost-effective holiday.

5. Christmas and Kwanzaa Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Along with the Rugrats, animated Disney show The Proud Family was one of the first mainstream TV shows to dedicate an entire episode to Kwanzaa. When the Prouds take in a homeless family on Christmas, the family comes back the next day to return the favor - by teaching the Prouds about Kwanzaa.

6. Be Careful Who You Invite to Your Kwanzaa Party

On Saturday Night Live, Tim Meadows dropped by Weekend Update as “Kwanzaa Timmy” to explain the traditions of Kwanzaa - in song. You'll laugh, you'll learn and you'll feel slightly taken advantage of.

7. There’s No Such Thing as Kwanzaa Cake

Celebrity chef Sandra Lee caused an uproar with her Kwanzaa cake recipe a few years ago. Pretty much the only thing "Kwanzaa" about it was her use of Kwanzaa-colored candles. Some critics cried racism based on her ingredients, but almost everyone agreed the recipe was just terrible, and terribly stupid.

Since then, Food Network aired a much less maligned episode about Kwanzaa Traditions:

Shout! Factory
Original GLOW Wrestling Series Hits Twitch
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

When it premiered in June 2017, GLOW was a bit of a sleeper offering for Netflix. With the amount of original programming ordered by the streaming service, a show based on an obscure women’s pro wrestling league from the 1980s seemed destined to get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, the series was a critical and commercial success. Ahead of its second season, which drops on June 29, you'll have a chance to see the mat work of the original women who inspired it.

Shout! Factory has announced they will be live-streaming clips from the first four seasons of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), which first premiered in 1986, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on June 28. The stream, which will be available on and Twitch, will feature original footage framed by new interviews with personalities including Godiva, host Johnny C, and Hollywood. The show will air live from the Santino Brothers Wrestling Academy in Los Angeles.

Godiva, who was portrayed by Dawn Maestas, inspired the character Rhonda (a.k.a. Brittanica) on the Netflix series; Hollywood was the alter ego of Jeanne Basone, who inspired the character Cherry in the fictionalized version of the league. Basone later posed for Playboy and takes bookings for one-on-one wrestling matches with fans.

Shout! Factory's site also features a full-length compilation of footage, Brawlin’ Beauties: GLOW, hosted by onetime WWE interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

Universal Studios
Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in July
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Here’s some news you won’t be cheering about: Bring It On is leaving Netflix on July 1st—as are the four of its sequels that are currently part of the company’s streaming library (FYI: there are a total of six Bring It On films altogether—yes, six). The Lethal Weapon franchise will bid farewell, too, as will a handful of classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. To make way for July’s slate of new titles, here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in July.



Along Came Polly

An Honest Liar


Before Midnight

Bring It On

Bring It On Again

Bring It On: All or Nothing

Bring It On: Fight to the Finish

Bring It On: In It to Win It


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon 2

Lethal Weapon 3

Lethal Weapon 4

Little Women

Michael Clayton

Midnight in Paris

Mixed Signals

More Than a Game


Piglet’s Big Movie

Rugrats Go Wild

Scary Movie

Scream 3

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The Art of War

Tropic Thunder

V for Vendetta


Breakfast at Tiffany’s


Alpha & Omega: Journey to Bear Kingdom

Real Husbands of Hollywood: Seasons 1-5


Ratchet and Clank



Alice Through the Looking Glass


Wild Hogs



Lockup: State Prisons: Collection 1

Small Is Beautiful: A Tiny House Documentary





The Den


A Cinderella Story

Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot

Swing State 


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