Alas, Photography by Misty wakes up to smell the coffee
Whether it be a superhero, a baby doll or a trusted friend, everyone enjoys a face which looks like the one in the mirror. Adults and children alike find comfort and joy in a relatable face.
There’s research to back up the importance of similar features, skin-tone and hair textures. “Everything in life is relatable and based on experiences,” said Dr. Michelle Adams, founder & president of Marketing Brainology. “Mirror neurons allow us to connect and relate. Without them being triggered, the same connections cannot be achieved.”
It was during an early morning walk a few months ago that Misty Hoyt, founder and lead photographer with Photography by Misty, was contemplating how to make a difference on a larger scale in her industry. It was then that she decided 2020 was the year her team needed to offer Black Santa Claus.
“I’ve come to realize through experience, education and conversations that it is important for children to have toys which represent them. When donating during holiday toy drives, I gift a diverse plethora of toys, “ said Hoyt, who has been offering Santa experiences for 12 years. “ Aughhh... I am not happy with myself that it has taken us so long to offer a racially diverse Santa, however instead of beating myself up, my team and I are ready to move forward. And… we are already planning to expand in 2021.”
Through months of research, Misty stumbled upon a few Black Santa resources. Her fave find (aside from the Jolly ‘ol Elf himself)? The Find Black Santa app, a local project to help parents and grandparents find a Black Santa for their Littles. Dr. Jihan Woods had a hard time finding a Black Santa for her children, so she decided to create an app for that!
“I really wanted my children to see a Santa Claus who looked like them,” said Woods, a psychiatrist, who released the app in 2018. “It’s so important to me that they experience diversity in all aspects of their lives, Santa included.”
Friend and client of Photography by Misty, Miesha’s mom was ahead of the times. She was able to find a Black santa for her children each year before the days of apps and Google searches (although the Photography by Misty team had very little luck finding very many resources even in 2020).
“Growing up, I remember my mom making it a priority to find a Santa that looked like us every year to take pictures,” said Miesha, founder/creator/owner of Gold Soul Candles. “There was not an easy way of finding out where they were each year, but seeing Black Santa every holiday season became one of the most memorable parts of my childhood.”
Misty also learned from Black Santa, whom she met at a Plano parking lot selling barbecue, that the original S Claus was indeed a black man. Yes, Virgina, Santa is black.
“I love being part of the solution and not the problem,” said Santa, who, when selling his barbecue delights goes by Dy-no-mite. “And I thank you for the opportunity to express that!”
Aside from a few private events, Photography by Misty’s Santa portraits will be at Legacy West - transforming into Legacy North for the holidays. Of course, social distancing and anti-virus measures will be in place. Pre-registered attendees will also have the opportunity to peruse locally curated items, featuring #SavingSanta2020, #BlackSanta2020 & #Christmas2020 at Santa’s Pop-Up Shoppe. They’ll be something for everyone from a holiday scented candle, curated specifically for Photography by Misty’s clientele by Gold Soul, to made-to-order laser-engraved ornaments featuring client’s portraits with Santa.
You can find and register for the Santa experiences at LegacyWest, the Find Black Santa (free on the app store) and Photography by Misty’s Santa page.