As 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.