Since it first hung all the mistletoe 50 years ago, Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” has been the African-American community’s own personal holiday anthem.
“A lot of black people would say, ‘Christmas doesn’t start until we play ‘This Christmas,’ ” said Nadine McKinnor, 79, who co-wrote the song with Hathaway. “It always got love. It’s a Wakanda thing, honey!”
Released Dec. 9, 1970, the tune has belonged to black people in a way that traditional carols, such as “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night” and ’30s and ’40s standards such as “Winter Wonderland” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” didn’t.
It’s also become a certified classic that’s crossed over the color lines in the years since Hathaway’s 1979 death from an apparent suicide. “This Christmas” has been covered not only by R&B legends, such as the Temptations, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin, but also artists including Christina Aguilera and the group formerly known as Lady Antebellum.
“As with everything that we create in this culture, it starts with us, and then when it’s great, it resonates outside of our community — it becomes a part of the fabric of America,” said Lalah Hathaway, 52, Donny’s Grammy-winning daughter. “I think my father would be tickled.”
Read the full story at the New York Post | Entertainment.