Kwanzaa, the cultural and spiritual holiday for African-Americans, is being commercialized and is facing criticism by purists, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News (Dec. 27).
American blacks spend as much as $700 million on Kwanzaa-related merchandise. Such mainstream retailers as Target, Pier 1, and Borders Books are competing with stores catering specifically to blacks for Kwanza gifts and other merchandise, reports Charlee Oldham. The 34-year-old festival is celebrated by about 10 percent of African-Americans and is built around seven principles, which include spirituality, unity, self-determination and creativity.
But it is the principle of cooperative economics, which encourages blacks to build and maintain their own business, that has caused purists to attack the new commercialization as diluting the holiday. Others, however, say they’re happy Kwanzaa is finding its way into the mainstream. Black critics are also unhappy that Kwanzaa is increasingly being celebrated as a multicultural holiday, since many people can relate to the seven principles.