Tamron Hall won a lot of praise for a “woke” photo of a Black Santa statue on Instagram over Thanksgiving break.
The former Today show anchor has seemingly rebounded from her abrupt departure from NBC earlier this year. She posted an image of herself with the African-American Santa while with family in Texas. Her unapologetically Black photo won 26, 825 likes as of Wednesday morning.
“Yessssss Black Santa!,” wrote one Instagram user, yoyo96_.
“Santa Claud is a black man” (in my Michael Jackson voice from the Jackson Five era),” wrote another Instagrammer, mrslb2.
Yes, hateful and ignorant comments also came out on the ‘gram over the photo.
“Give it up seriously, a black Santa, talk about racist!,” said one user. “Get over the jealousy!”
The negative commentary was skillfully shut down by pro-Black Santa advocates. Hall’s Santa was celebrated by those users for steering clear of the traditional image of the jolly, round and White version of Santa that has been deeply embedded in American culture. Of course, viewers wanted to know exactly where Hall found the Santa that breaks stereotypes, as the statues are not readily available in popular retail stores.
The history of these representations is also still a mystery to many Americans.
Stories of Black Santas began circulating in the early 1900s. Tap-dancing legend Bill “Bojangles” Robinson became Harlem’s “first [Black] Santa Claus” during a Christmas Eve party for underprivileged children in 1936, according to BBC News.
Darker-skinned Santas became associated with the civil rights movement in the 1960s, BBC also reported.
Fast forward to now, the movement of Black Santas is still gaining steam slowly. Young and older folks saw a non-fair skinned Father Christmas for the first time at the Mall Of America, the nation’s largest shopping destination, in Minnesota last December, according to the Star Tribune.
Rumors about a Black Santa at Macy’s have also been around for a few years, according to several reports.
The dark-skinned St. Nicholas pictured with Hall, who exited her NBC News and MSNBC post in February amid an alleged “whitewashing” controversy involving Megyn Kelly moving to the network, is a representation that Black folks welcome into their homes. No amount of racist backlash can dull the shine of the resilient Black Santa, a symbol of change.