City celebrates Kwanzaa, cooperative economics

Ayi A’are co-founder of iAM chats with a young shopper during the Black Vendor Market at the Village Produce and Country Store.

City celebrates Kwanzaa, cooperative economics
January 03
00:45 2019

Ujamaa or cooperative economics was the theme of the day last Saturday as people across the city celebrated the third night of Kwanzaa. 

Kwanzaa, which means “first” and signifies the first fruit in Swahili, is celebrated each year from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Dr. Maulana Karenga introduced Kwanzaa in 1966 to celebrate family, community, and African-American culture, and as a response to the commercialism of Christmas. 

Each day of Kwanzaa is represented by a principle or theme that is the focus of the celebration for that day. Here in Winston-Salem Triad Cultural Arts partners with various businesses and   organizations to host a different event each night. This year the celebration began last Wednesday at the Winston-Salem Urban League with the viewing of a Kwanzaa documentary narrated by Maya Angelou. The festivities ended at the annual Emancipation Service held at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. 

On Saturday, with the principle of the day, Ujamaa, which encourages the African-American community “to build, maintain, and profit together,” local business owners took center stage. The day began at the Village Produce and Country Store with the first-ever Black Vendor Market. The event was designed to showcase local business owners and entrepreneurs. 

While talking with The Chronicle last weekend, local entrepreneur and co-founder of iAM (Intellectual African Movement) Ayi A’are said he felt it was important to celebrate Kwanzaa because it’s time African-Americans learn and celebrate just how important our culture is. He said that’s what the iAM movement is about, uplifting the African-American community and taking care of each other. 

“We’re just trying to educate and give back to our community. Trying to teach them about holistic health and getting back to natural, plant based diet, I feel like that’s one way we can take care of each other.” He continued, “I felt it was important to be here today because Kwanzaa is about celebrating and uplifting our people. With Christmas, you don’t know if you’re celebrating the birth of Jesus or Santa Claus. Kwanzaa is more meaningful for our ancestors and us.” 

The day of cooperative economics continued at the NAACP headquarters on Oak Ridge Road with the Business Showcase and Vendor Market. Along with several businesses on hand, the event also gave the public a chance to meet members of the Winston-Salem Black Business Chamber. 

On Sunday, Dec. 30, the celebration switched gears as Nia or purpose was the principle of the day. To celebrate, dozens met at Grace Presbyterian Church where members of Othesha Creative Arts Ensemble performed and Ryan Wilson, trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, was honored. 

For more information on the 2018 Kwanzaa Celebration or how to get involved next year, visit or the Triad Cultural Arts Facebook page. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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