Even though Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a convicted felon, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who was born in 1964, said that she and her family have celebrated the holiday.
In a Kwanzaa video message posted on Saturday, Harris positioned herself in front a Kinara while wishing everyone “happy holidays.”
“You know, my sister and I, we grew up celebrating Kwanzaa,” said Harris. “Every year, our family would – and our extended family, we would gather around, across multiple generations, and we’d tell stories. The kids would sit on the carpet and the elders would sit in chairs, and we would light the candles, and of course, afterwards have a beautiful meal. And, of course, there was always the discussion of the seven principles. And my favorite, I have to tell you, was always the one about self-determination, kujichagulia.”
“And, you know, essentially it’s about be and do. Be the person you want to be, and do the things you want to do, and do the things that need to be done,” she continued. “It’s about not letting anyone write our future for us, but instead going out and writing it for ourselves. And that principle motivates me today, as we seek to confront the challenges facing our country and to build a brighter future for all Americans. So, to everyone who is celebrating, Happy Kwanzaa from our family to yours.”
Given that neither of Kamala Harris’ parents are African and that she was born two years before the holiday ever existed, people on social media immediately trolled the Harris for what appeared to be an instance of cheap pandering.
“Somehow I find it hard to believe that she has a deep childhood attachment to a holiday that didn’t exist when she was born,” tweeted The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh.
Somehow I find it hard to believe that she has a deep childhood attachment to a holiday that didn’t exist when she was born https://t.co/037S09KqxP
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) December 27, 2020
“This is such an obvious lie. She was born in 1964. Kwanzaa was created in 1966. It didn’t really take hold until the late 70s and early 80s. For her whole family to be devoted to it in her childhood is incredibly unlikely… she’s a liar,” said another user.
“As some one [sic] who was born & raised in Africa I can tell there is no such thing as Kwanza [sic]. Kamala knows nothing about it because she is an Indian Jamaican who grew up in Canada,” tweeted Melissa Tate.
As some one who was born & raised in Africa I can tell there is no such thing as Kwanza.
Kamala knows nothing about it because she is an Indian Jamaican who grew up in Canada.
— Melissa Tate (@TheRightMelissa) December 26, 2020
“We ‘Jamaicans’ do not celebrate Kwanzaa. Also, being first-generation myself, I’m confused as to how you could celebrate with multiple generations. This is such a fake post, I understand it’s intent, but please do not be fake about it. Just say happy Kwanzaa,” said another user.
We "Jamaicans" do not celebrate Kwanzaa. Also, being first-generation myself, I'm confused as to how you could celebrate with multiple generations. This is such a fake post, I understand it's intent, but please do not be fake about it. Just say happy Kwanzaa.
— Mark 🇯🇲 ⚖ (@markal84) December 26, 2020
Invented in 1966, the actual number of people who celebrate Kwanzaa has been hotly contested for several years. The founder has claimed that as many as 28 million people celebrate it; the African American Cultural Center once claimed 30 million. However, in 2004, a survey for the National Retail Foundation discovered that only 1.6% of those surveyed in the United States celebrated the holiday. Even one of Kwanzaa’s most prominent public proponents, researcher and professor Keith Mayes, has admitted that the holiday’s popularity has seriously waned since the 1960s and 1970s.