Gary native Daryl Champion (third from left) poses for a photo with Windy City Live hosts Ryan Chivarini, Ji Suk Yi and Val Warner after lunch at Lillie's Restaurant in Chicago. Champion was invited to be a guest panelist on a live broadcast of "Windy City Live" earlier this month. | Photo provided
Updated: February 24, 2014 4:24AM
The Gary Public Library Board of Trustees, in partnership with the Friends of the Gary Public Library, are kicking off the start of Kwanzaa (Dec. 26 through Jan. 1) with a free Kwanzaa celebration at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, at the DuBois branch of the Gary Public Library, 1835 Broadway.
Kwanzaa, derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” means “first fruits” in Swahili and is an African-American and Pan-African holiday that celebrates family, community and culture.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University in Long Beach.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).
Thursday’s program will feature entertainment, speakers and refreshments. It is free to the public. Contact the DuBois Library, 886-9120 for more information.
Gary native Daryl Champion is a “Super Fan” of “Windy City Live,” which airs at 11 a.m. weekdays on ABC 7.
He’s such a fan — he interacts frequently with the daytime talk show’s hosts, Val Warner, Ryan Chiavarini, Ji Suk Yi and Roe Conn, via the show’s Facebook page — that he got the opportunity to be a part of the show’s panel in the “Host Chat” segment Dec. 9.
Champion, who operates the family business Champ’s Liquors in Gary, has sat in the audience a couple of times, but caught the producers’ attention through social media.
“Ji sent me a direct message asking for my cell number and one of the producers called me and said they read my stuff on Facebook all the time and the humor and insightful comments caught their eye. Then she invited me to be a guest panelist for ‘Host Chat’,” Champion said.
His Dec. 9 appearance was a make-up date for Nov. 18. The show was pre-empted that day for breaking news regarding the aftermath of tornados damaging parts of Illinois.
“I was able to have lunch with them that day. They contacted me days later for the Dec. 9 appearance,” he said.
The Dec. 9 show was lively with guests including actors Gabrielle Union and Richard Roundtree discussing their BET series, “Being Mary Jane.”
Champion was able to talk about the family business, his work as an illustrator, and DancExcel, the studio operated by his sister, Dionne Nicole Champion, and Sherice Grant. He was also able to talk about the stage production of “The Spirit of the Baobab Tree,” written by Dionne and Sherice, as well as the children’s book based on the production.
“The ‘Host Chat’ segment went by so fast! It was great being on the other side of the TV screen,” Champion said.