I heard Jesus was too 🤧 🤧 🤧. Merry Christmas, Fam. 🎅🏾 🎅🏾 🎅🏾
From the Quietus:
Released over forty years ago this Christmas, ‘#SantaClausIsABlackMan’ by #Akim & the #TeddyVannProductionCompany is pure novelty: a soul funk retread of ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’, sung by a little girl to her daddy. It’s festive fluff, complete with none-more-70s asides (“I can dig it” says Teddy, when he’s told about the handsome, #BlackSanta with an afro, and adds “Right on.”) It’s a cute Christmas song, sang by a child and for children. Which makes it easy to overlook just how pioneering that made it. This was a novelty Christmas song for black kids released in 1973, when African American children were completely left out of traditional festive imagery; it repackaged the ethos of blaxploitation music for pre-schoolers, attempting to give black children a piece of Christmas they could actually relate to. The song is a key point in the life’s work of Brooklyn musician and polymath #TeddyVann, a fascinating and overlooked figure in late 20th century Black popular music.
“His intention with the song, I’ve come to learn, is that he wanted to create the same type of message for Black children,” says Akim, now in her 40s. “They could also have images that were associated with things that were beautiful, or things that were good, or things that were exciting. American slavery gave birth to the definition of the word “black” becoming something that was not so good. If you look it up in the dictionary, “black” is going to have all these negative connotations, and unfortunately as a black child or as black people, you can’t help but be affected by that. He was redefining what it meant to be black, in terms of positive, beautiful imagery being associated with that word.”
Akim, was five when ‘#SantaClaus…’ was recorded, and is rightly proud of her contribution to his work. “It’s something that every single year people play,” she says. “I remember it being played on a radio station when I was younger, but when it’s your parents doing things, you never think it’s a big deal.