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The Styled Side: Black Santa Claus is coming to town

Baron Davis (center) wears a sweater featuring Black Santa, offered on his new site
Baron Davis (center) wears a sweater featuring Black Santa, offered on his new site
Black Santa via Instagram @iam_blacksanta

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Imagine jolly old St. Nick: he's a rotund man wrapped in a bright red suit, smiling behind rosy red cheeks.

He's usually white, too.

But African-American Santa Claus is an institution in some communities. He's a familiar holiday sight at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles, for example.

Now, he's going big-time.

"I'm seeing a new category of Christmas merchandise with Black Santa," says Michelle Dalton Tyree of Fashion Trends Daily. "You can his face on t-shirts, ugly winter sweaters, hoodies, wrapping paper, ornaments and more."

And he has a specific look: he takes after former NBA point guard Baron Davis.

"That's because Davis – an L.A. native – launched The Black Santa Company, based here in Los Angeles," says Tyree.

Davis dressed up as Santa for Halloween last year and says he was a big hit. He then trademarked his company, selling merchandise featuring an illustration of his Black Santa look.

"There has to be more than one Santa Claus and there has to be a Santa Claus that represents black people," Davis told The Undefeated. "It was also about bringing us together, getting us in the spirit of giving, celebrating diversity in ourselves and others, being proud of who we are."

This trend builds on last year when musician 2 Chainz launched a line of Dabbin' Santa sweaters (dabbing is a dance move where you raise one arm and bow your head into your elbow like you're sneezing).

"And Dabbin' Santa made a big comeback in 2016," says Tyree. "There's a big market for all kinds of black Santa merchandise."

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue media player above.