SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Saturday is not only the first day of Kwanzaa, but it’s also a day some city leaders, artists and business owners hope will showcase Savannah’s African-American restaurants, art, and culture.
Saturday is the first day of Kwanzaa and for many black artists and businesses across the city, it’ll also be a new way to generate some much-needed revenue many missed out on during the pandemic.
The seven-night event will highlight some of Savannah’s black-owned restaurants. Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter says it’s time for Savannahians to support our black businesses, especially after very few received funding from the CARES Act.
“I was hard-pressed to identify 10 restaurants for this event that is seven days, understanding that African-Americans work in every kitchen in this community and its time Savannah. It’s time to increase our economic advantage by supporting each other and encouraging our community to also support our African American businesses,” said Gibson-Carter.
Businesses like Kool Vibes Pizza and Wings on Montgomery Street. They’ll be featured on the third day of Kwanza.
The owner says they’ve struggled during the pandemic and this event will bring them some much-needed exposure.
“We opened in September and it’s been a struggle. To bring this Kwanzaa crawl to us will bring more business, more volume, more notoriety and people will see as with the exposure that’s needed to survive,” said James Bennett, owner of Kool Vibes Pizza and Wings.
Local historian and professor Dr. Amir Jamal Toure says some forget minority-owned businesses are foundational to the city and it’s important to remember their part in Savannah’s culture and history.
“We must showcase and let people understand that when you come here to this area, you are now learning about the culture and the history here but dining in the restaurants here, that it’s still tied to an African foundation, so Kwanzaa is fitting with regards to this and so our job is to now make sure people understand fully and clearly the impact, the foundation that’s right here,” said Dr. Toure.
The Kwanza Krawl will feature a new restaurant each night along with presentations and demonstrations to celebrate the holiday.
The goal of this event is also to highlight artists and local non-profit organizations.
Everyone is welcomed and masks will be required.
1. Umoja: Unity
Saturday, December 26th
ODYSSEY 2.0 - 65 W. Fairmont Ave.
2. Kujichagulia: Self-Determination
Sunday, December 27th
Host-Comm.-Elect Adot Whitely
520 TAVERN - 8820 Abercorn Street
3. Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
Monday, December 28th
Host-Comm-Elect Tanya Milton
KOOL VIBES Pizza and Wings - 4501 Montgomery Street
4. Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
Tuesday, December 29th
Host-Commissioner Jay Jones
2 CHEFS - 2005-07 Martin Luther King, Jr.
5. Nia: Purpose
Wednesday, December 30th
Host-Ald. Alicia Miller-Blakely
BELFORD’S - 315 W. St. Julian St.
6. Kuumba: Creativity
Thursday, December 31st
Host-Rep. Tonia Howard Hall
UNFORGETTABLE BAKERY & DELI - 238 Eisenhower Drive
7. Imani: Faith
Friday, January 1st
LIQUID CAFE - 10201 Abercorn Street
ARTISTS: Sonja Robinson, Calvin Woodum, Alix Baptiste, William Poh, Gilbert Walker, Patricia Sabree, Margie Marie
CHARITIES: Blessings in a Book Bag, Greenbriar, Unforgettable Dream Fund, Daughters of Mary Magdalene, West Broad YMCA, and Future Minds Literacy/GED, and Harambee House