LITTLE ROCK, Ark – A North Little Rock man is starring in an HBO Max documentary after he received a hateful later two years ago asked him to remove a Black Santa statue from his yard.
It’s been two years since Chris Kennedy‘s Facebook post showing a letter asking him to remove the statue went viral.
Since then, he says community support came in from all over, even encouraging him to dress as Black Santa. which has now led him to starring in an HBO Max documentary, ‘Santa Camp.’
Kennedy says when he received the letter back in Nov 2020, it was disappointing.
“It was actually very disheartening and angering at the same time because no one had ever said anything,” Kennedy said.
But after he shared a video of the letter on social media, he says it quickly went viral with people saying positive things about his Christmas decorations and wanting him to be Black Santa.
“You can either wilt or blossom and we decided we were going to blossom,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy says for the past two years he has been Black Santa for family, friends, and community events like North Little Rock’s Northern Lights festival.
“It’s a great thing to know you’re providing something that people do want. That’s not readily available, that’s necessary because all kids need to see themselves represented in Santa,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy says the journey he has been on has been so inspirational that he will be part of the hitting the big screen in ‘Santa Camp’ an HBO Max documentary.
While at Santa Camp, Kennedy says he learned a lot.
“You learn the business of being Santa, you learn the back story and learn how to create your own backstory for your character,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy says filming started last year and it followed his journey and others about being Santa. It also highlights the lack of diversity in the Mr. Claus industry.
Looking back on how everything began, Kennedy knows what he would say to the person who wrote the letter.
“I had to do what was best for me, which was to immediately forgive them and move forward,” said Kennedy.
The letter incidentally reminded him to stay jolly and never give up on his dreams.
“It put me on a train to better, to better not only for my family but I think better for my community,” said Kennedy.
The HBO Max documentary will be available for streaming on Nov 17th.