The Black Candle

Produced and Directed by MK Asante | Narrated by Maya Angelou

The Black Candle

A landmark documentary celebrating the African-American experience, narrated by Maya Angelou, now streaming on Amazon Prime.

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The first feature film on Kwanzaa, The Black Candle traces the holiday’s growth out of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s to its present-day reality as a global, pan-African holiday embraced by over millions of celebrants.


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‘The Black Candle’ Synopsis

The Black Candle is a landmark, vibrant documentary film that uses Kwanzaa as a vehicle to explore and celebrate the African-American experience.

Narrated by world renowned poet Maya Angelou and directed by award-winning author and filmmaker MK Asante, The Black Candle is an extraordinary, inspirational story about the struggle and triumph of family, community, and culture.

Filmed across the United States, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, The Black Candle is a timely illumination on why the seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity,  self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith) are relevant today.

The first feature film on Kwanzaa, The Black Candle traces the holiday’s growth from the first celebration in 1966 to its present-day reality as a global holiday embraced by over 20 million celebrants.

With vivid cinematography and an all star cast that features NFL Legend Jim Brown, Hip Hop icon Chuck D, Kwanzaa’s founder Dr. Maulana Karenga, artist Synthia Saint James and many others, The Black Candle is more than a film about a holiday: it’s a celebration of a people!

AFI Movie Club Behind-the-Scenes

The American Film Institute's Movie Club selected The Black Candle as part of their Home for the Holidays classic holiday cinema list. MK walks AFI through some of The Black Candle's most memorable scenes.

Praise for ‘The Black Candle’

  • "The first film on Kwanzaa, The Black Candle, narrated by Maya Angelou, is fit for a poet."

    —Time Read Full Review
  • "Extraordinary and inspirational."

  • "Phenomenal ... Amazing."

    —San Francisco Chronicle
  • "I predict that viewing The Black Candle will become an annual family tradition in homes around the globe."

    —The Daily Voice Read Full Review
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Behind The Scenes
Photo by Asante Filmworx

MK Asante on-set with with Maya Angelou reviewing the script and recording narration.

Photo by Asante Filmworx
Photo by Asante Filmworx

MK Asante, Keith Smith, and Pierce Freelon of The Beast shoot the roll call scene in Durham, NC.

Photo by Asante Filmworx
Photo by Asante Filmworx

Alfredo Rosado holds the film slate at The Freelon Group Architecture firm in the Research Triangle.

Photo by Asante Filmworx
Photo by Asante Filmworx

MK Asante filming Chuck D of Public Enemy on-location in Santa Barbara, CA.

Photo by Asante Filmworx
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Tour Dates


Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, KY


Bookmarks Book Festival

Winston-Salem, NC



Philadelphia, PA


Virginia State University

Petersburg, VA