Can’t Stop Watching: Santa Claus’ African Origins, Tessanne Chin Wins ‘The Voice’ & More

"The View" (Photo: ABC)

The more years I spend on this planet the lower my tolerance for mess. It’s kind of like the older relative or older neighbor who just says what’s on their mind with little regard for your or anyone else’s feelings. I may not have put in as much time as they have but the sentiment is the same. That’s how I feel when the brouhaha erupted over Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s comments about Santa Claus’ (and Jesus) racial identity: “Santa just is white.” Kelly (her explanation to “kids” on her show was hilariously…sad) was reacting to writer Aisha Harris‘ opinion piece about the need for more diverse Santa Claus images. My initial response to Kelly’s comment? Meh. I had more pressing matters to tend to and just felt her remarks were the usual distraction from more deserving topics. As I sat watching “The View” this morning and listened as guest Bill O’Reilly, Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” host, said there is a historic basis for depicting Santa Claus as white, the journalist in me raised her hand, politely waving and saying, not so fast, Billy Boy. Two years ago, I wrote an article for The Root, a black-centric news site owned by the Washington Post Co. until very recently, about an Atlanta-based Black Santa who says Ol’ St. Nick was actually black. Really, you may ask? Referring to a December 2002 “Turkish Times” article (the link to the original post is no longer active but there are several copies of it available online), Santa Dee told The Root: ” I did a lot of research and even have a gentleman who sends me various images that show St. Nicholas as a darker-skinned man. In one photo he even looks like Frederick Douglass, with the hair and all. That’s what it looked like to me.” Apparently, according to the Turkish Times’ piece–“Santa Claus: How a Bearded Black Bishop Born in Turkey Became America’s Favorite White Saint”–the image of Santa Claus is based on a charitable dark-skinned, woolly-haired Moorish monk from Africa who reportedly lived between 270 and 343 A.D. Huh, you don’t say? Of course, this differs from claims that the jolly image has roots in Greece, with many assuming he’d be what we consider white (Sicilian comedic actor Mario Cantone, who was a guest host on the very “The View” episode that featured O’Reilly, joked on said episode that Santa Claus was Sicilian and thus “mixed.”). Look, I’ve been over Santa Claus since I was under 5 feet tall. However, I wanted to point out another possible origin of this character who’s become so beloved around the world. Here’s a link to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” responding to Kelly’s remarks. See O’Reilly on “The View” below and check for Cantone’s performance on the subject here.

Bill O’Reilly Talks about Christmas and defends Megyn Kelly’s Santa Claus “is white” remarks
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Here’s what else is happening…
Ever had a conversation and noticed mid-sentence that your audience just isn’t that into you? Or has a person’s body language said one thing but they were actually saying something different? It’s happened to the best of us. And there’s a way to help lessen such instances (or at least clue in if they arise). Evy Poumpouras, a former Secret Service agent and Cosmopolitan magazine contributor, offers great tips on decoding body language to Al Roker and Willie Geist on the “Today” show. “Sometimes people just don’t know when to shut up,” she explains. “You want to listen to someone; you want to be an active listener. That means actually listen to what they say and then also watching what their body says. And that’s how you know when someone is conveying something to you and you can really get the truth.” Good advice! Watch more here.  NBC’s “The Voice” has a new champion–Tessanne Chin!! The Jamaica native is very deserving of this honor and it’d be nice if the platform can take her further in her career. Her duet with the legendary Celine Dion–they performed “Love Can Move Mountains”–was good (watch it here) but the performance that brought a smile to my face was Tessanne, Preston Pohl, James Wolpert, Grey and Olivia Henken singing Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin'”–one of my favorites! The Stax artists put me in mind of another ’60s-era duo, Bob & Earl, and my favorite of theirs, “Harlem Shuffle.”

Tessanne Chin, Preston Pohl, James Wolpert, Grey and Olivia Henken deliver “Hold On, I’m Comin’.”[iframe 580 476]

On my watchlist? What I’m tuning in to see and what I’ll catch up with XFINITY On Demand tonight…
“Barbara Walters’ ’10 Most Fascinating People of 2013′”: This is her last one! Among those included are Robin Roberts and Kimye! It airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. EST on ABC. [Watch here]
“Almost Human”: I got a little behind and am playing catch up. It airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox. [Watch here]

The Hot List: Who/What’s Hot, Not
HOT: Beyonce’s “XO” song and video. (Actually enjoyed this and remember reading about the video shoot.)
NOT: TMZ asking readers via a poll to vote on whether to “refer to black people” as “African American” or “N—a.” Check boxes included! (Mainstream America’s obsession with the use of the n-word is hilarious. I think Chris Rock’s thoughts on the topic seem pretty accurate, generally speaking.).

HOT: Chris Rock! (Since referencing him above, I went back and watched some of his stand up skits. Pure hilarity!)
NOT: People making a big deal out of first lady Michelle Obama’s facial expressions during Nelson Mandela’s memorial when President Barack Obama and other world leaders were taking selfies. (The legend of the angry black woman strikes again!)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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