Nichole Footman-Kuykendall is the creator of Black Holiday Trivia, a card game that quizzes players on familiar Black holiday movies, music and artists. (Courtesy Photo)

By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
msayles@afro.com

When Nichole Footman-Kuykendall moved to Chicago several years ago, she began hosting holiday parties for her friends. Her guests, many wearing festive –but ugly– Christmas sweaters, for instance, would come ready to celebrate, but the newcomer hostess said she found it challenging to choose entertainment that all of her party guests could enjoy. 

Most of her new friends here were from different groups and had never met one another, and as the hostess, Footman-Kuykendall stumbled in finding something for everyone. 

She tried to pull everyone together around spades games, but, she said, she found that many folks here are not skilled in that bridge-like card game. She tried other board games, but someone always ended up excluded. 

Finally, Footman-Kuykendall suggested that everyone divide into teams to compete in a basic trivia game about holiday-themed movies and music. 

“It was a hit. People loved it. It was comfortable for everyone because everyone has been exposed to these movies and music, so it was more of an even playing field no matter where you were coming from or what region you had grown up in,” said Footman-Kuykendall.

Soon, after hosting the trivia game, Footman-Kuykendall’s friends started wanting to play it at their own holiday parties and events, so in 2020, she created Black Holiday Trivia, a card game that tests players’ knowledge of Black holiday entertainment. 

In a world full of smart devices and technology, people don’t always connect like they used to. Footman-Kuykendall said oftentimes at holiday parties different generations are divided. 

Grandparents, great-aunts and uncles may be in one room while parents, aunts and uncles are in another. The kids are typically glued to their tablets and phones. 

Black Holiday Trivia was created as an intergenerational endeavor that every member of a family can play. 

It includes 75 questions that ask players to name the correct movie, artist or song. Some questions may also offer more points for more than one answer. 

Aside from being available online, Black Holiday Trivia has also partnered with African-American museums throughout the country, including the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American Culture, to sell the game locally and support her adjunct as a way to encourage education about Black history and culture. 

Footman-Kuykendall said she hopes that the trivia questions will spur conversations about family and friends’ childhood memories, interests and holiday traditions, helping the youth to relate to their elders.

“The best part about the game is that unlike traditional trivia, which really focuses on dates, names, places and kind of those more static things, we intermix those questions with things that have happened within a movie, which quite honestly anyone can remember,” said Footman-Kuykendall. “If you’re not a person who’s really good at remembering names, as long as you watched the movie and kind of paid attention to what happened, you can play and really participate as well.” 

Amid legislative and administrative assaults on teaching critical race theory (CRT), it is imperative that Black families pass down their culture to their children, according to Footman-Kuykendall. What better way of ensuring that than using the bonanza of  popular film, plays and musicals, she said. 

“I think the more that we talk about the accomplishments that we have done as a people and the culture we have cultivated, the less apt it is to be taken away,” said Footman-Kuykendall.

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