In Arkansas, man becomes professional black Santa after receiving hate mail over Christmas decoration

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — A man in Arkansas decided to become a professional Santa Claus after receiving a racist letter asking him to remove his Santa decoration from his front lawn.

Chris Kennedy, 35, from North Little Rock, found the hateful note in his mailbox in November 2020. He then decided to rent his first Santa suit that year.

"I could not let hatred win," he told The Washington Post.

"You don’t like me having a Black Santa in my front yard? I will go and be the Santa Claus for the entire city."

While a police report was lodged over the note, which was signed by an anonymous 'Santa Claus', Kennedy did not find out who was behind it.

He kept his black Santa inflatable up and added a second one to his holiday decor for good measure.

As a show of solidarity, his neighbours also decorated their own front yards with black Santas.

Kennedy started dressing up as Santa Claus that year because he wanted his then four-year-old daughter, Emily, to see herself represented before deciding to go pro. He and his wife, Iddy saw a need for representation in their community.

Kennedy honed his skills at the annual 'Santa Camp' run by the New England Santa Society, and the group had been getting a lot of requests for black Santas on its website.

Since going professional, Kennedy has been booked for over 250 events.

"One of the coolest things about the story blowing up is that there were people that were traveling for hundreds of miles [to introduce their children to me]," he said.

"I don’t think there’s any better feeling in the world."