During the Holidays, television networks often shine the spotlight on Christmas. There have been a wide variety of Christmas specials and traditions that networks like ABC, Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network, and much more participate in every year. Other Holidays from different cultures such as Kwanzaa and Hannukah are rarely represented. A lack of representation of different cultures or minority groups could possibly lead to some losing value or trust in these networks and their beloved shows. Disney Channel managed to add some representation with their animated show from the early 2000s, The Proud Family, which centered around a black family and a majority of black characters. In “Seven Days of Kwanzaa”, we can truly see representation of many forms come into play.
First off, I think writer Wayne D. Stamps, Jr. (or simply Wayne Stamps) and the rest of the team behind The Proud Family deserves many applause for such a remarkable episode. Wayne Stamps writes and has written for many other black shows, but contributing very conscience subjects to a show like The Proud Family enlighted the younger audience who grew up watching this show. Eleven episodes into this series came a spotlight for a different culture. Finally. “Seven Days of Kwanzaa” premiered on Disney Channel on December 7, 2001. Penny Proud and her family meet a homeless family of three, Joseph, Margaret, and Stephanie, while Christmas shopping. Penny invites them over for Christmas dinner, where the Proud family soon learns that the homeless family celebrates Kwanzaa. The Proud family participates in the Kwanzaa celebration, opening their eyes to a whole new meaning of the Holidays.
History was made with this episode. The Proud Family was the first ever Disney show to celebrate Kwanzaa. This episode gave representation to a holiday celebrated in the African American culture. That’s huge. It showed little girls and boys who celebrated Kwanzaa that we know that they exist and they matter. This was never done before on that single network and it’s what makes The Proud Family one of the greatest shows to ever air on Disney Channel. The episode also displayed awareness for homeless families, and the characters Joseph, Margaret, and Stephanie did it well. They had no roof to call their own over their heads, yet they still felt grateful enough to give and share with the Prouds. As a viewer and overall fan of this show, that really opened my eyes and made me give more thanks for what I have. It’s something we can all learn. If you have never seen this episode then you really need to. Overall this episode is a positive representation of Disney Channel’s prime.