For the 47th year, the Leimert Park Village Community Foundation celebrated Kwanzaa with a festival. However, this year for the first time the Los Angeles festivities featured a float by members of the Nation of Islam.

Nineteen faithful believers rode down the street in their decorative float which was due to the creation and hard work of Brother Basheer Muhammad. He spent two days crafting the float.

Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. He wanted the national holiday to honor seven critical principles for Black and African people to observe and demonstrate: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

The seven-day holiday begins Dec. 26, and ends January 1. Its name comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” meaning “first fruits.” Typically, families and friends gather nightly for the celebration of one of the seven principles every evening or every day. The cardinal Kwanzaa principles are called the Nguzo Saba.


“We were so excited to be a part of this community festival. Brother Basheer worked hard on the float and the sisters came out in their finest. We showed the community the beauty of our sisters and took Islam front and center,” Sister Aminah Muhammad, owner of Leimert Park business Queen Aminah’s, told The Final Call.

—Nisa Islam Muhammad,

Staff Writer and Final Call staff