In the news-that-shouldn’t-really-be-news category, the Mall of America will feature a Black Santa Claus this winter.
Why is this a headline of any kind, you might ask?
Welp, it’s the first time in the mall’s 24-year history that St. Nick will be repped by an African American. Larry Jefferson is the pioneer who will listen to kids’ lists and encourage them to be nice (not naughty) for four days this year, according to the Star Tribune.
Jefferson, who has been rocking the red suit since the 90s, is a U.S. army vet. He seems hopeful that it’s not his hue, but his “ho ho ho” skills that will be important to the children he will meet and greet during his upcoming 4-day stint. He told the Star Tribune:
“What they see most of the time is this red suit and candy,” Jefferson shared. “[Santa represents] a good spirit. I’m just a messenger to bring hope, love and peace to girls and boys.”
And though Team EBONY hopes that is the case, this is also an important issue of representation and a long overdue milestone. Landon Luther, who runs the small studio where the Santa sittings take place at the Mall of America, seemingly concurs.
“This is a long time coming,” Luther, co-owner of the Santa Experience, told the Start Tribune. “We want Santa to be for everyone, period.”