It's a Kwanzaa bonanza! Nearly 50 years ago, Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa as an opportunity for black Americans and other descendants of the African diaspora to celebrate their heritage. The holiday is a joyous occasion where the emphasis is on family, community and togetherness that is based on traditional African fruit harvest festivals. The seven days of festivities begin Saturday 26, so get yourself to one these gatherings this weekend.
Kwanzaa 2015:Energize, Recognize!
The American Museum of Natural History’s 37th annual Kwanzaa spectacular offers a jam-packed afternoon of music, history and film. Learn about the holiday’s origins from Linda Humes, artistic director of Yaffa Cultural Arts, who’s joined by African drummers and the Harlem School of the Arts Legacy Ensemble. Then watch a Maya Angelou–narrated Kwanzaa film, and jam out to a performance from rapper Doug E. Fresh. Central Park West at 79th St (amnh.org). Sun 27 noon; free with suggested museum admission.
Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night
Renowned dance company Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature brings its unique blend of ballet, modern, West African and hip-hop to the Apollo Theater. In keeping with the holiday’s multicultural spirit, the company is joined by Latin soul singer-songwriter Raul Midón and Gambian musician Foday Musa Suso, who’s a master of the Kora, a 21-stringed West African–instrument. 253 W 125th St (apollotheater.org). Sun 27 at 2pm; $20–$35.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum teams up with Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance for a series of performances to express the seven principles of Kwanzaa, known as Nguzo Saba: unity, self-determination, purpose, creativity, cooperative economics, collective work and responsibility, and faith. Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave (brooklynkids.org). Sat 26, Sun 27 10am–5pm; free with museum admission.
LGBT Kwanzaa Community of NYC
For its 38th annual Kwanzaa celebration, this LGBT organization brings African traditions to the Judson Memorial Church. Shop for goods and garb at an African marketplace, and learn about the seven principles from a group of storytellers. New Jersey’s Sum Sum African Drummers provide the beats. The day ends in a free feast. 55 Washington Square South (eventbrite.com). Sat 26 2–7pm; suggested donation $15.