December 26, 2012

Minorities in cartoons: Kwanzaa

Minorities in cartoons: Kwanzaa
Curtis at Kwanzaa
2012’s Kwanzaa storyline in “Curtis.” By Ray Billingsley.

This week, I’ll look at cartoon references to the African-American-oriented week-long holiday of Kwanzaa. While not shown as often in media as other early winter holidays such as Christmas or Hanukkah, there’s been some references to Kwanzaa in cartoons.

The Boondocks

The Boondocks” occasionally mentioned Kwanzaa, with Huey seemingly ambivalent about it. One year’s story revolved around Huey forgetting about celebrating it entirely, to his embarrassment. As the caption in one strip put it, “Next: dealing with the shame.”

The spinoff animated series on Adult Swim also mentioned Kwanzaa.

Arthur

The long-running PBS Kids cartoon “Arthur” features an entire cast (and world, “Postcards From Buster” aside) of funny-animals. However, they prove to be just as diverse as real-life humans. The Christmas special “Arthur’s Perfect Christmas” reveals that class genius the Brain’s family celebrates Kwanzaa.

The Simpsons

“The Simpsons” had Bart, in the episode “Mother Simpson,” mention Kwanzaa among the list of holidays Homer’s mother supposedly “owes” Bart presents. Homer’s response, before proceeding to choke Bart: “I’ll Kwanzaa you!”

Curtis

The comic strip “Curtis” usually does an annual storyline for Kwanzaa. Said storyline usually is based on an African folk tale/aspect of African folklore, or a similar fantastical element. The strips don’t involve the regular “Curtis” cast (who’re said to be “taking a hiatus from the strip”), and are usually drawn in a more lavish than usual fashion.

Rugrats

An episode of “Rugrats” features Susie‘s family celebrating the holiday. The episode centered around a visit by Susie’s great-aunt, who’s shown having met Martin Luther King during her younger years.

The Proud Family

Kwanzaa was also shown in an episode of “The Proud Family.”

(Updated 12/24/17)

Tags: African-AmericansanimationArthurcomics triviaKwanzaaMediaminorities in cartoonsRugratsThe BoondocksThe Proud Familytrivia