My Kawaii Kwanzaa Challenge

I am not a holiday person by far, but as I grow older (and grow more into my name) I can’t help but to get ecstatic about Kwanzaa.
For those of you reading who don’t know what Kwanzaa is, it is a week-long celebration created by Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett) and was first celebrated in 1966-67. The unofficial holiday is a week-long celebration that honors African heritage in African-American culture. With seven core principles, or Nguzo Saba (Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba, and Imani), Kwanzaa is celebrated in the United States and other nations of the Western African diaspora in the Americas.
Last year, I did hand styles of each principle. I was in Japan and had a lot of script tattoos lined (it’s one of my tattoo specialties), so I incorporated it hand style practice into my Kwanzaa countdown.
This year, having started on a road to increasing the kawaii presence in DC, I decided to examine my life as it relates to the principles, in what I called My Kawaii Kwanzaa Challenge. Since I started it on my personal Facebook page, I decided to make it interactive for others who celebrate and may also be into kawaii lifestyle .
I’m gonna find an image from my kawaii lifestyle that directly relates to each principle.
I’ll end each post with “Habari gain” If you’d like to participate, YOU can reply with the principle’s name and a picture that directly illustrates the principle of that day. Got it?!
*Habari gani, in Swahili, is a greeting meaning “What’s the news?”
I was surprised that some people chimed in, especially for the first day. Others enjoyed the idea of the challenge, so I will do my best to refine the idea for next Kwanzaa celebration. Hopefully you’ll join in the fun!

My KawaiiKwanzaa Challenge

Umoja, Unity

To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.


Communities shown in pic:
  • DC KawaiiStyle is a community that seeks to introduce & promote the philosophy of kawaii (cute) culture as a fun, happy, & positive lifestyle alternative. Feel free to be inquisitive, join the community, & get involved!
  • Be Beautiful Foundation‘s mission is to show young girls with the help of the arts that validations comes from within. It is our job to teach young ladies that beauty cannot be defined within the limits that society has laid out for them.


To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.


In beta mode everyday, I have to empower myself before (even while) I can actively support & empower others. I am currently defining myself by my lifestyle (kawaii), dreams, & courageously creative efforts, determined to always present the best Imani, daily =^.^=

Little INKPLAY Shop is my biggest dream to date – an empowering private tattoo studio & kawaii culture hub fueled by creativity and color.

Here is how I have defined myself in tattoos, art, and now learning to speak for myself through the efforts of building Little INKPLAY Shop ^^

Ujima, Collective Work and Responsibility

To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.

We’ve shared dreams & allowed the most vulnerable parts of our personalities to hang out when necessary. I’m thankful that you’ve made my problems (& dreams) part of your own & it’s truly a pleasure to do the same in return. You guys push me to be better and I’m happy we have found ways to work together in spreading more kawaii in the world.

Otsukaresama 2015 you have been good to us! In 2016, NOW IS FOREVER.

Meet the support system of Little INKPLAY Shop and DC KawaiiStyle. My kawaii empowerment sisters – Nikkia, Terra, Kaila & Anggy (Love y’all! <3 )

Ujamaa, Cooperative Economics

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

4My vision board of Little INKPLAY Shop’s (ideal) layout
I am working towards this with Little INKPLAY Shop efforts heart emoticon I hope to fill this space not only with my tattoo work but that art and crafts of friends and others aligned with the shop’s purpose. Check out my visual diagram doodle grin emoticon

All info about Support Little INKPLAY Shop can be found here →

Nia, Purpose

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness~


A few days ago, I revisited Michael Shorter’s story about our #INKPLAY session together. It was a reminder to me that my purpose in our community is to help others mend, through art. Somehow in this, I am also helping to mend myself. To ALL of my dear clients, thank you and I love you <3 <3 <3

Kuumba, Creativity

To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

This is something I work on DAILY! So I did m personal blog, GAMBARE ipukekawaii (ha! you’re reading it now ^^) … which pretty much reminds me to do my best! EVERYDAY I need to be creative. I feel that in creativity I am earning my keep in life and collecting experiences to be able to pay it forward. Here is where I personalise ALL of my random creative experiences, pick through, and refine my efforts so that I can be of better (creative) help to my community.
I love this principle because creatives/ artisans in any culture and class system, are of the lowest or next to lowest classes but among the most important to keeping a community balanced. It’s a funny structure but a great one, IMHO. I think artists are meant to live like any commoner, otherwise how would we feel, how would we relate, how would we be a voice for the people if we aren’t … of the people?! This is my own positive perspective about class systems~

Imani, Faith

To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

12465816_519964501497975_6125169852538678720_o Here’s to believing that dreams do come true! <3 I believe in all things positive as I have seen them help me touch my dreams time and time again. So here’s to IMANI in 2016! <3 Thank you for reading my countdown. If you can relate or want to respond to any principle, feel free to make my comments section *bling* … do~zo~ There are a couple more introspective posts that I will be sharing in coming days. I hope you come back for them. Until then! =^.^= ipukekawaii.gif