Nearly a thousand people turned out yesterday at 'The Venue' in the Lansing Mall for the city’s 1st ever ‘Black Santa Experience.’
Lots of kids had the opportunity, for their very first time, to meet and interact with a mocha-skinned Saint Nick!
Local radio personality and businessman "Metro Melik" wore the Santa suit to the delight of kids young & old.
Along with talking with ‘Santa Melik’, the children also had a chance to get their faces painted, and to make special holiday cookies.
Black representations of Santa Claus can be traced back to at least the late 19th century in the United States, where the character was folded into a racist minstrel and vaudeville tradition designed to frame Black people as inferior to Whites.
In response, Black newspapers and entertainers both championed and embraced the Black Santa as a means of generating festive cheer for embattled Black communities across the country.
In December 2020, the Washington Post published a story about a North Little Rock, Arkansas family receiving a racist letter after installing an inflatable Black Santa Claus on their lawn. Signed by an anonymous “Santa Claus,” the letter admonished the family for attempting “to deceive children into believing that I am a Negro. I am a Caucasian (white man, to you), and have been for the past 600 years.”
In response, the Post wrote, “neighbors rallied in solidarity by installing Black Santas on their own lawns, a heartening gesture welcomed by the family as a demonstration of liberal inclusivity.”
Sponsors of Lansing's "Black Santa Experience" say they hope to make it an annual holiday season event.
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