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Kwanzaa: Kuumba/ Creativity

It’s Me!



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Today is day 6 of Kwanzaa and the principle is Kuumba, the Swahili word that translates into creativity. The idea behind this principle is that we should always do as much we can, in the ways that we can to make our communities more beneficial and beautiful than before.

And God said, “Let there be light.” ~The Book of Genesis

If there is life on any of the other planets they must look up to their heavens and think that they are the most blessed Creation in the Universe. I know for a fact all Creation on Earth, great and small, is blessed.  All I have to do is look around to know that a “Master Builder” has defined and demonstrated creativity in such a grand and immaculate way. With seven billion people on one planet, the majority of us have our own fingerprints (identical twins are the exception–but a testament to creativity just the same!).  A ball of various gases warms the air and an elliptical sphere holds the oceans down. My body and personality are made just for me, so in Pop Culture when another person says, “You ain’t built for this,” it’s always a compliment because each of us “built”  in exclusive, expert craftsmanship by the “Master Builder” for our own walks of life.  Not everyone is endowed with the full use of our faculties: some live with and through mental disease and some of our bodies are missing limbs, yet most of us do the best we can, with the best that we have, and in the ways that we can. Because, creativity knows no limits! 

Whether nuanced or general, we have all heard the stories of how our ancestors endured America’s institution of slavery by speaking in “code”. Beyond the fact that Africans and Black Americans were forced to live under the most brutal conditions the world has ever seen–denied the simplest rights of humanity like speaking and writing in the multitude of languages we brought to the “New World”–we have become the most creative, utmost contributing force in creating America’s, and now the world’s culture. From those indigo, rice, tobacco, and cotton fields, and the arduous chain gangs came the field songs (hollers) / work songs: pacing, coping, rhythmic poetry and escape plans, we created in our language–the code. Beyond the spoken and written word, there were the quilted and drum beat codes.  In unconventional circumstances, we used the creativity that had already been ingrained in our DNA and brilliant minds by the Creator.  Creativity knows no limits.  

While we left the fields, we didn’t lose the communication; and, the field/ work songs became the Blues and the Hip-Hop lyric.  Creativity knows no limits and “we be cool.” ~Gwendolyn Brooks

We decoded and re-coded language, sounds, symbols and life for the sake of survival. Ebonics was a term that was all the buzz in 1996 when I was an Undergraduate college student at Virginia State University. There were many debates about whether Ebonics “existed” or if it was “real” and if the lingo that Black America and even Southern Whites used was “dumb” language. No matter the side of the argument, there was no denying that a difference prevailed in how the overarching Black community used language and that it did not fit the “standard” ideas of speaking correctly–nor did it have to. Our ancestors graduated generations of us with degrees in speaking the “code.”  Harlem rapper, the late Big L, recorded a song called “Ebonics” in which he explained some of our codes, well. 

The principle of Kuumba as an application to enhancing our communities is God-given.  Creativity exercises our brains, connects time, space, and circumstance; and, it validates that we walk in the light of the Creator. We have not invented anything that the Creator has not already provided us with the knowledge to do. Indeed creativity knows no limits! 

For more information about Ebonics, click on this link: We Just Right!

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