Entertainment & Culture
An Email To My Family About Thanksgiving Dinner:

By Michael Harriot

From: Me

To: The Harriot Family

Subject: Thanksgiving Dinner

CC: All Y’all

What’s up fam? Once again it’s time for Thanksgiving dinner at my house, and I just wanted to send this email out to make sure everything is straight. Everyone should already know what to bring to the dinner, but there are a few things that need clarifying:

Macaroni: First, there is some good news and bad news to pass on:

Everyone knows the recent passing of Aunt Wilene sent the family into a tailspin this year. Uncle Sonny said that even though she was 91 years old, it was very unexpected. He told me they were up late on election night watching the results, and as soon as Aunt Wilene heard Brian William say, “Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States,” she kissed Uncle Sonny on the lips, told him that she loved him and then said “fuck this shit, I’m out.”

Her sudden death sent the family’s macaroni sanctioning body into emergency preparations to grant someone the power and authority to make the macaroni for Thanksgiving dinner. After meeting in a secure location for 17 hours, we finally saw white smoke emerge, signaling they had chosen a new macaroni maker (and Uncle Sonny was smoking a joint). Congratulations to Phil, who will be one of the youngest official macaroni-ers in the history of our family, and the first gay member of the family to serve in the position. There will be some people who say that Phil was selected because the family is trying to look progressive, but I think the greatest testimonial came from Uncle Sonny, who tasted Phil’s macaroni, nodded his head, said “that’s the one,” and burst into tears.

Rest in Power Aunt Wilene. You will be missed.

Please Arrive Early: I know you might have other things to do, but there is only one thing sadder than a Black person who voted for Trump (he should have his ass kicked): The look of pure sadness and love being ripped apart when two kids who are  cousins and haven’t seen each other since summer have to part ways.

You should get here early and do like Grandma used to say, “let them chirren love each other for a while.”

That’s why we have Thanksgiving at my house. I don’t care what those kids do. I already put the expensive, breakable stuff away, so get here early and let them have fun running around.You don’t even have to watch them that closely. Just make sure they don’t find Uncle Sonny’s weed stash, and we’re good.

Fighting: To reduce fighting at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, we have put a few rules in place.

  • Because of their record, this year there will be two rooms set up to watch football: One for Cowboy’s fans, and one for the people who don’t want to hear that Cowboys bullshit all day.
  • No take home plates will be fixed until everyone has finished eating the main meal, and all take-home plates must be clearly marked with your first and last name, fingerprinted and retina scanned. There is no worse feeling in the world than getting home, opening a leftover plate, and realizing you brought the wrong one home.
  • Yes, Aretha Franklin was better than Luther.
  • One scoop of dressing, that’s it.
  • To reduce the arguments at the Spades table, it says in the Bible, “As for me and my house–Joker. Joker. Ace”

Suspension: You will notice a seat open at the dinner table this year. That is because your cousin Shonda has been suspended for a period of one year from all family events for using performance enhancers. We received an anonymous tip that last year’s sweet potato pies were suspiciously light-skinned. Our testing agency stepped in and did a surprise test, and both her “A” and “B” samples tested positive as “Pattie’s Pies.”

Some people suggested a lifetime ban for trying to slip Patti LaBelle’s Wal-Mart pies into the family’s menu, but we remembered the 1986 scandal when cousin James was running late and brought Popeye’s chicken to the Thanksgiving meal. We used this precedence, and after a lengthy appeals process, we settled on one year.


Children’s Table: Because of Shonda’s suspension and Aunt Wilene’s passing, the grownup table has 2 openings this year. As you know, the move from the child’s table to the adult table is very rare in this family and each position at the “big table” is very coveted. The first opening will go to me, because it is my house and I’m 40 years old and tired of sitting in a high-chair at a card table eating with toddlers drinking from a sippy-cup.

The second opening will go to Uncle Jimmy. He drinks too much. Plus, after one of Kesha’s kids grabbed his cup of Crown Royal last year, drank it all, then said “Uncle Jim, your sweet tea burned my chest,” I think it was time we made a change.

Hotepness: I know there are some family members who don’t believe Black people can be racist, but to cut down on the incidents of racism–Tyrone (or “Alshumda Shabazz XX,” as you now like to be called)– can you stay as far away from Jamaal’s wife as possible? Even though she is white, she is married to him, so she is part of the family. If you do run into her at some point, can you not call her a “blue-eyed devil?”

Her eyes are green.

We ask that our Hotep family members please refrain from reminding us for the 2,018th time that you no longer eat pork. Nigga, I just saw you standing outside smoking a Newport drinking a Bud Light, a little pig ain’t gonna hurt you. And no, we are not going to tell you if the greens were seasoned with neckbones. If you are so “woke” then Osiris, Ra, Jah, Black Jesus, Yahweh or whoever the God of Hotepness is, should protect you from the evil swine.

And please don’t start the nonsense about how we are celebrating the holidays of the oppressor and the slaveowners. We don’t get together because of Pilgrims or Indians. We are gathered together to celebrate family and because everybody here likes cornbread stuffing. If you are so “woke,” then you neither respect gays or White Holidays, so let me have your macaroni, nigga.

I didn’t think so.

Joking: Listen, I like the meme too, but by the end of the day, we will all be tired of hearing every single person  who walks into the kitchen with their dish singing “I got peas, greens, hogs, maws…”

Feel free to play the actual song alongside the Christmas Carols, though. Just because it’s Shirley Ceaser, I bet Aunt Marvell will catch the Holy Ghost.

Children: Speaking of music–Kesha, when the family gathers around to  sing Christmas carols and watch the little neices and nephews have a talent show, ummm… Can your kids do something besides a twerk routine this year? It was cool when they were five and six, but now that they’re in college, it is beginning to get a little creepy.

Bathroom: Look, this is a family house and we ask everyone to respect it as such. We know we have a great dinner every year, and we have but one request of each of you:

Can y’all wait until you get home to boo-boo?

Look, I know we are here hanging out at my house all day. When your body starts sending I-gotta-shit signals to your sphincter, perhaps that is God telling you that it is time to go. I don’t have a problem with anyone using the bathrooms here, but when you start mixing 10 or 12 different dookey smells from assorted anuses all together in one bathroom, no fart fan, Febreeze can or lit match is gonna get rid of that. I’m just tired of my bathroom smelling like skunks had a gang fight in it every year.

Rumor: We all know that Jamaal has said for years that he is a Republican. Well, there is a nasty rumor spreading amongst the family that Jamaal voted for Trump. If this is true…

Y’all can kick his ass if you want to.

And we have some of Shonda’s leftover pies to feed him, too.

That’s it. I’ll see y’all on Thursday. Remember to bring some aluminum foil and be safe!

I love y’all.









About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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