Holiday

Black Santa: Knightdale man dons Santa suit to create more diverse Christmas photos

Posted December 6, 2021 3:20 p.m. EST
Updated December 6, 2021 5:07 p.m. EST

— As a little girl, Gena Wright of Knightdale says she never saw a Black Santa in any shopping malls or stores.

She believes a trip to see Santa should be an inclusive experience – and worries that children of color may feel left out of the magic.

"If I could have seen that when I was younger, I think it would have been really special," she says.

This winter, she and her husband are working together to help local children see a Santa that looks like them – and create a space for more diversity in the holidays.

By day, her husband Brian Wright works for the U.S. Postal Service.

One afternoon, she had a surprise for him: A Santa suit.

The moment he donned it, the magic began.

"When I saw my husband in the suit, I was amazed at how he looked," she said. "I imagined what it might have felt like as a little kid standing in line waiting my turn to share my Christmas list with a Santa that looked just like me!"

Now the Wrights have kids coming to their home for photos with Santa.

"It touches me in places that I even struggle for in words to tell you," said Wright.

One grandmother was thrilled to see her 20-month-old granddaughter, Bianca Meritt, have her first photo shoot with Santa.

"Just to have my grand baby, my only grand baby, have her first picture with a Santa that looks like her is awesome," she said.

Wright says all children, no matter their skin color, are welcome.

"Now more than ever we are living in a very inclusive society," she said. "There is room for all. So whatever shade your Santa comes in, just have fun and show lots of love this holiday season!"

Anyone who'd like to visit The Wright Santa for a photo shoot can learn more on the family's Facebook page.

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