“Santa Claus is a Black Man” by Akim and the Teddy Vann Production Company

"Santa Claus is a Black Man" by Akim and the Teddy Vann Production CompanyAs our first black president prepares to take office, it seems like the timing is appropriate to celebrate our first black Santa, or at least the only one I’m aware of to be memorialized in song.  This barrier was broken in 1973 (I think) with this novelty number, which is sort of an Afrocentric take on “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

I discovered “Santa Claus is a Black Man” on A John Waters Christmas.  The song’s writer, Teddy Vann, is apparently none too amused that Waters put the song on his compilation, and is suing him.  (Neither a lawsuit nor doing something deserving of a lawsuit is very Christmassy, guys!)  According to Allmusic.com, A John Waters Christmas is the only place the song is available, unless you care to spend a lot of money for the original single.  I’d better find my lost copy of JWC–it may be a collector’s item soon.

The song doesn’t appear to be well-known, but I saw some comments on message boards and such that seem to indicate that it was (is?) popular in New Orleans.  I’d be interested in information on this or anything else about the song, so please comment if you can add to my knowledge.

According to the article about the lawsuit, Akim is Teddy Vann’s daughter.

Teddy Vann also co-wrote “Power of Love/Love Power” with Luther Vandross, which won a Grammy.

Merry Christmas!

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21 Responses to “Santa Claus is a Black Man” by Akim and the Teddy Vann Production Company

  1. Alex LaPointe says:

    You forgot Lou Rawles earry Christmas Ho!

  2. muffin says:

    Just Wait,
    There is a new song being released this Nov 1st, 2009 – that is going to be soo great!!!
    here comes
    Black Santa
    by J the Savage

  3. Ari says:

    I can only give you my opinion of the “Santa is a Black Man” song…but if you would like i can put you in touch with Teddy Vann who wrote this song. Then you can learn the truth behind the song written by this Grammy Award winning song writer. All my best,

  4. Leslie says:

    Well, Santa Claus is a Black Man is actually very well-known in the Black community. I remember listening to this song as a little girl. It was played quite frequently on the local radio stations and I was also able to download it online several years ago.

  5. Leslie:

    Thanks for your remarks. I had the impression that it was well known in the Black community but no confirmation that it was nationwide and not just in New Orleans.

  6. Tonya Scott says:

    This song was a hit for me as a child and I’m 41yrs old. It was a hit in Houston, Texas as well as New Orleans. My co-workers thought I was crazy but after listening to the song today, they are all hooked!!! I think it should be re-released because my kids also love it!

  7. Laurice Peters says:

    I just looked up this song – I heard it as a child of the 70’s and have always loved it. I heared it on a radio out of Pensacola, FL, but I have never heard it since – some things you just have to keep in the South.

    • Leslie says:

      Ironically, I also grew up in Pensacola, Florida (also a child of the 70’s) I’d be willing to bet that the station you heard it on was WBOP AM radio! :)

    • Chad Gray says:

      I also herd this song as a little boy in Indianapolis…It has so many good memories and it still plays today on the local radio station.

  8. maryellen says:

    my brother, Brian and I have been singing Santa Claus is A Black Man for years…It’s our fav! (and he’s white and gay and i’m a retired K teacher.) That’s what I’m telling YOU>

  9. Book says:

    I Actually have the “A John Waters Christmas” Album and its full of Corny Christmas songs that are supposed to be funny.. The One posted in that Clip though is the same clip everyone downloads from the p2p sites. as if somebody uploaded it from a Scratched CD, so it Skips.

    I’ve had “X-Mas Blues” for a while as well, that was also popular in N.O.

  10. paul richards says:

    I know Teddy and wife wonlyn personally. He is a visionary. A man with a purpose and a vision that is contagious. He is promoted to a better place, may is dream stay alive in us through the power of love that we share.

    Regards,

    Paul Richards
    Friend

  11. SouthernTreats says:

    Santa Clause is a Black Man was huge in Jackson, MS as well. As a kid, the song was an integral part of the Christmas experience and party mood in the south during the 70s and 80s. It would be on the radio day and night as Christmas got closer, we would hear it on the radio as we drove to visit other family who lived in Atlanta, you’d hear it while driving through Alabama, while in New Orleans, in Memphis, Houston, and throughout all the little towns in Mississippi for at least 15 of the 17 years I lived there. The friends I know who grew up in LA had never heard of the song and I thought how weird.
    If the song was placed on a corny Christmas album as a joke, then jokes on you. Pay the man.

  12. mo mo says:

    I know this song well I grew up listening to this song in Savannah Ga about 30yrs ago

  13. leshana lafayette says:

    I grew up listening to the song. People played it during the christmas parades on their floats. I couldnt belive the people in the city I live in never heard the song.

  14. brendadouthit says:

    I HAVE LOVED THIS ALBUM FROM THREE YEARS OLD OR MORE .I AM NOW 47 YEARS OLD.EVERY SONG ON THIS ALBUM IS A HIT.LITTLE MS. SUPERFLY,I WANT A NATURAL SANTA CLAUS,BLACK BEAUTY HAPPY KANZA AND MERRY CHRISTMAS,ROCKETSHIP.I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET A COPY OF THIS SINCE FOREVER.MY BROTHER AND MY HAVE TRIED TO GET ME THIS ALBUM.EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS MY FAVORITE ALBUM.PLEASE HELP ME FIND IT THANK YOU.

  15. Ronda says:

    This song was and still is a huge part of Christmas for the Black community here in Indiana. I grew up to this song 40+ years ago and it is still being played on the air now.

    Love it!

  16. ricegirl says:

    i am 41 years old and from Indiana. This song has always been a Christmas favorite and part of our tradition. i even have my children hooked on it! living in KY as well as growing up between the two state i have never heard it on radio but when in Indiana being home for the holidays its always on the radio near Christmas. Friends and co workers in Kentucky swear i am crazy and making it up..but Santa is a black man will be a song full of memories as long as i live!

    happy holidays,
    RiceGIrl

  17. joseph butler says:

    Santa Claus is a Black Man was a very popular xmas song growing up in Helena,AR. The song brings back memories of the holiday at grandma’s house with all my cousins, this for sure is a classic for me and my family.

  18. mbdoll says:

    I also grew listening 2 this song. I’m 40 and I’m also from Louisiana but I live in Zachary now but grew up in Baton Rouge. Our radio stations played this song & they continue 2 play this song 4 the X-mas holidays now.

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