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The fun lasts for eight hours.

The Afrikan Poetry Theatre will host Kwanzaa at Amazura Concert Hall in Jamaica on Saturday, Dec. 30, from noon to 8 p.m.

The event will feature continuous live music, dance, spoken word, and other forms of entertainment along with traditional African and Caribbean crafts and cuisine, face-painting, kiddie giveaways and a celebrity guest who has not been announced yet.

Scheduled performers include the Golden Dancerettes, the United African Dance Group, the Elite Marching Band, the Urban Poets Movement, Queens Free Expression, and Messiah Ramkissoon, a Trinidad-born, NYC-based emcee who describes himself as a “Liberation Lyricist.”

Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana studies at California State University Long Beach and a major figure in the Black Power movement of the 1960s, founded Kwanzaa, which was first celebrated in 1966-67. It runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 this cycle. The ritual honors the African-American community’s African heritage, stressing seven core principles: Unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

The word comes from the East African Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits of the harvest.” Common observances include drumming, reading, reflection, discussion, performances and art. Celebrants often decorate their households with art, light candles, say prayers and give thanks on mats. Everything culminates in a feast with gift-giving.

The Afrikan Poetry Theatre began as a collection of poets, singers and musicians that John Watusi Branch and Yusef Waliyaya organized into a nonprofit in 1976. Currently, the group hosts a wide range of cultural activities with a pan-African focus, including jazz jam sessions, open mic events and a film festival. Over the years, the entity has expanded to offer cultural and educational tours of West Africa. The theater’s most popular annual event is Kwanzaa, which is now in its 40th year.

Tickets run from $8 to $15. Amazura Concert Hall is located at 91-12 144th Pl.

Images: Kwanza First


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