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Forget SantaCon — Kwanzaa Crawl is Coming to Brooklyn Bars

By Camille Bautista | December 16, 2016 2:19pm | Updated on December 19, 2016 8:11am
 Sixteen venues throughout Brooklyn will participate in Kwanzaa Crawl on Dec. 26, 2016.
Sixteen venues throughout Brooklyn will participate in Kwanzaa Crawl on Dec. 26, 2016.
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Kwanzaa Crawl

SantaCon is finished, now get ready for Kwanzaa Crawl.

Bedford-Stuyvesant resident and comedian Kerry Coddett is launching a Kwanzaa-celebrating bar crawl to support black-owned businesses throughout Brooklyn.

Though don't expect a repeat of the Father Christmas-fest. The dress code for this event is something that makes participants feel "unapologetically black."

On Dec. 26, the first day of the week-long holiday, sixteen bars and restaurants in Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene and Park Slope will welcome revelers celebrating the holiday.

Kwanzaa Crawl is an initiative from Coddett’s group, Operation Mobilize, which encourages people to get involved in their communities “to help counter the political and economic effects of systemic oppression,” the founder said.

“We need to organize economically, to focus on ways to bring black dollars back into black communities,” Coddett said of the event.

“People always complain about gentrification but it’s because we don’t value ourselves and the things that we have here. We have to find ways we can appreciate each other, support the community and start a conversation.”

The 29-year-old started observing Kwanzaa recently, she said, and wanted to spread awareness about the celebration’s seven principles.

“People don’t know a lot about it and disrespect it. But this is to let people know, Kwanzaa is dope, stop playing yourself.”

Kwanzaa Crawl will touch on the holiday’s principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith, Coddett said.

“Kwanzaa places a premium on the collective and the family unity,” she explained, adding that the event will bring people together and give them an opportunity to harness their economic power.

A $10 ticket includes a commemorative cup and a wristband, which will let revelers enjoy drink specials and happy hours at participating venues.

Bars on the routes include Bed-Vyne Brew, Mo’s Fort Greene, Tin Kettle and Bleacher’s.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” said Bed-Vyne owner Rotimi Akinnuoye. “I think anything that helps to stimulate business for small businesses is great.”

When signing up, Kwanzaa crawlers are asked to select the bar at which they’d like to start, and will be divided into different groups with team leaders.

Participants will meet at Restoration Plaza at 1 p.m. to join a team and pick up their cups.

Partygoers are also asked to “wear whatever makes you feel unapologetically black,” according to the event page. 

“Whatever makes you feel black and beautiful, however you express yourself in that way,” Coddett explained, adding that some might feel comfortable in African Kente cloth, others in the colors of the Pan-African movement or dressed as a member of the Black Panther Party.

But she’s quick to stomp out the notion that Kwanzaa Crawl will be like the city’s infamous holiday bar crawl.

“Don’t compare us to SantaCon,” she said.

“The reason we’re trying to do this is to communicate to people it’s about love, respect and community. We want to attach it to Kwanzaa and unity, and black people dressing up and coming together for a bigger purpose.”

Tickets for Kwanzaa Crawl on Dec. 26 can be purchased on the event website for $8 before Dec. 19 with the promo code “Kwanzaa,” and for $10 thereafter.