TV and Movies

Kwanzaa movie, TV specials to stream for the holiday

Kwanzaa has officially begun!

The annual seven-day holiday is bringing cheer to households through Jan. 1, highlighting African American culture and traditions across the African diaspora. Kwanzaa isn’t associated with a single religion, so people can celebrate Christmas or other holidays and practice Kwanzaa. That “allows it to unify people rather than divide on religious belief,” Kelly E. Navies, a museum specialist in oral history at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, told USA TODAY. 

A different value is celebrated on each of Kwanzaa’s seven nights: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). These values are marked by lighting candles on a holder called a kinara – which holds three red candles, three green candles and a black candle in the center.  

Hallmark, the channel known for its extensive Christmas movie lineup, vowed to include more representation and part of that change brought a joyous film incorporating both Kwanzaa and Christmas. 

Holly Robinson Peete, Lyndie Greenwood and Brooks Darnell star in "Holiday Heritage," celebrating both Christmas and Kwanzaa.

What to know: What is Kwanzaa and when is the holiday celebrated?

What to watch this holiday weekend: From over-the-top ‘Babylon’ to ‘Puss in Boots’ sequel

Holly Robinson Peete’s “Holiday Heritage” is among the most recent movie or TV projects about Kwanzaa.

Keep reading for the Kwanzaa specials currently available on streaming:

‘Holiday Heritage’ (2022)

Jennie Esnard, Lyndie Greenwood and Holly Robinson Peete embrace Kwanzaa celebrations in "Holiday Heritage."

Ella (Lyndie Greenwood) reunites with her ex-boyfriend Griffin (Brooks Darnell), who helps her mend her fractured family during the holidays. The pair push her family together for Christmas and Kwanzaa celebrations.

Where to watch: Hallmark and Philo (airs again 10 a.m. ET Dec. 29), streaming on fuboTV

‘The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration’ (2008)

Poet Maya Angelou narrates M.K. Asante’s documentary about the history and traditions of Kwanzaa from its African roots to its connection to the Black Power Movement in the 1960s.

Where to watch: Apple TV+, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video and Tubi

‘Everybody Hates Chris: Everybody Hates Kwanzaa’ (Season 3, Episode 10)

Julius (Terry Crews) decides to boycott Christmas in favor of Kwanzaa. His motive is less about culture and more about cutting holiday costs.

Where to watch: Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock TV and Tubi

Related: How Great American Family and Candace Cameron Bure are angling for Hallmark’s holiday movie crown

‘The Proud Family: Seven Days of Kwanzaa’ (Season 1, Episode 11)

Trudy Proud (Paula Jai Parker) and Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt) meet a homeless family – Joseph (Samuel L. Jackson), Margaret (Vivica A. Fox) and their daughter Stephanie (Raven-Symoné) – while doing holiday shopping and invite them over for Christmas dinner. Days later, they return and teach the Prouds about the seven days of Kwanzaa. 

Where to watch: Disney+ 

‘Rugrats: A Rugrats Kwanzaa’ (Season 8, Episode 16)

Susie Carmichael (Cree Summer) and her family are visited by her Great Aunt T (Irma P. Hall). T takes over, throwing a huge Kwanzaa feast and educating Susie on her family history.

Where to watch: Paramount+ 

Contributing: Marina Pitofsky

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