After the Dark: Teddy Vann & Akim’s ‘Santa Claus Is A Black Man’

[originally appeared in Shindig! issue #86]

The late ‘60s and early ‘70s were a time of social unrest in the United States, and black Americans were a major part of the uprisings against systemic discrimination and inequality. While many black activists were challenging the societal norms that perpetuated racial oppression, they were also reclaiming pride in their own heritage – and producer and songwriter Teddy Vann was one of those activists. His ’73 single ‘Santa Claus Is A Black Man’, featuring his five-year-old daughter Akim, has been rightly described as “merging African-American empowerment with the spirit of the holiday”.

Vann was astoundingly prolific and multi-talented; although largely self-educated, he was Continue reading

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