TheGrio Daily

My Mama’s Kwanzaa Cup

Episode 77

“Cause I was telling him ‘hey man you’re gonna break the Kwanzaa cup’ of course this cop had no idea what I was talking about.” Micahel Harriot shares the story of the time he was thrown to the ground by a police officer who thought he was buying drugs when in actuality he was carrying his mother’s Kwanzaa gift. TheGrio Daily is an original podcast by theGrio Black Podcast Network. #BlackCultureAmplified


[00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:15] Hello and welcome to these special episodes of theGrio Daily, the Kwanzaa episodes of the building where we just tell Kwanzaa stories. Right. I guess like now, because Kwanzaa isn’t really Black Christmas, but it’s kind of like Black Christmas in that its the same time of year. And we all give gifts on Kwanzaa. And Kwanzaa day, unlike Christmas, you give gifts that you make or that like you kind of create for someone else. They don’t have to be expensive gifts like a PlayStation 5. They have to be gifts that you intentionally give to a person because it reminds you of unity or faith or one of the elements of Kwanzaa. So, every year I used to struggle to find a gift for my mom. My mom would give us money to buy her a Kwanzaa gift or to buy each other coins and gifts. But I could never really think of anything for my mom. Until one year me and my friend, we went out to this party, right? Because they would have parties. It wasn’t Kwanzaa parties. We just went to like a teen party during the Christmas break at the skating rink. And first we went to the mall, then we went to the party. And when I was at the mall, I saw a gift, a Kwanzaa Cup. I could not believe. They were selling Kwanzaa cups in the mall. And they weren’t just Kwanzaa cups, they were Kwanzaa cups, I don’t know how they created this technology, but it was very, very advanced for the time when you poured your liquid into it, it would turn blue if the liquid was cold and red if the liquid was hot. Man, that was perfect for my mom. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:20] So I bought my mom Kwanzaa card and then I went to the party and we partied all night, which was fun, except for one thing. I stayed up past my curfew. Right. So my friend and I, we go home like he had this old car. It was loud. So I’m trying to sneak back home so my momma wouldn’t notice that I was out. So I tell him to let me out of the car down the street and I walk. I’m walking home and I realize, Oh, man, I left my mama Kwanzaa cup in his car. What was I going to do? Like tomorrow was the day that I was supposed to give her a Kwanzaa cup. And I left it in the car. Luckily, he saw the Kwanzaa cup in his car. Turned around, and as I was walking home, he pulled up beside me. Said a couple words, handed me to Kwanzaa club, and I kept walking home. Now sounds innocent, right? Unless you’re a cop. A cop was down the street and he swore that it was a drug deal. So the cop race down the street. Threw me on the ground. And started questioning me about like what I was saying to my friend. How much money did I give them? What was the drugs? And I was telling, I’m sure you didn’t understand what I was talking about. I probably thought I was high on crack because I was telling them, “hey, man, you go to break the Kwanzaa cup. Hold up, just don’t break the Kwanzaa cup.” Of course, this cop had no idea what I was talking about. And a neighbor came out of the house, saw him. She started cussing at him. And the cop let me go. And the neighbor took me home and told my mama that I got stopped by the police. And I was out past my curfew. Man, I got in so much trouble. But my mama got a Kwanzaa cup. 

Michael Harriot [00:04:44] And so on the first day of Kwanzaa when I was like 15 years old, that was the first time I was ever stopped and frisked by a car and all I had was a Kwanzaa cup. And that’s why Kwanzaa is one of my favorite holidays. Not because the cop, not because I was stopped and frisked, not because of that bad memory. But from that time on my sister was in charge of all gifts. We would just have to give her our money. She was like, I’ll just get the gift from now on, if you going to spend our money and not come home with my mama gift then from now on, I’m just going to be in charge of gifts. So from then on until this very day. Every year, for every time my mother has a birthday for Mother’s Day, for every holiday my sister calls us or sends us a text message and tells us what she’s going to get my mom for that holiday. And we just have to send her the money. And it’s all because I broke my mama’s Kwanzaa cup. And that’s why you got to subscribe to this podcast for great stories like that. That’s why you got to download theGrio app. And that’s why we’ll be back the next time to tell you about another Kwanzaa story. And that’s why we’re going to leave you with the traditional Kwanzaa greeting, Habari gani? And thank you for listening to theGrio Daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app. Subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at theGrio dot com. 

[00:06:54] You are now listening to theGrio is Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified.