CHICAGO — It will take more than a pandemic for Dreezy Claus to miss talking with children this Christmas season.
Russell, who is a behavior interventionist and a dean of students at LEARN Hunter Perkins Charter School on Chicago’s South Side, has his own website where families can book time with the jolly elf.
Russell has been honing his persona for nearly a decade and said his character has taken on a special significance this year.
“Dreezy Claus is basically a representation of the Black Santa Claus image,” Russell told WFLD.
Russell began gearing up for a virtual Christmas earlier this year when the pandemic began to spread nationwide.
“I knew things were going to be different, but I also knew that I had to make it work,” Russell told the Chicago Defender. “Adults, not just kids, are going to need positive energy, especially around the holidays. For me, it is a matter of responsibility. So, I decided to take Dreezy Claus virtually.”
Russell told the newspaper he bought equipment and researched the proper apps. He did a dry run over the summer, called “Christmas in July,” to work out the bugs.
Russell, who has written a children’s book -- “Dreezy Claus & the Boy Who Didn’t Believe” -- said he hopes to continue his connection with children in Chicago.
“The representation of the culture so they know that Santa looks like them,” Russell told WFLD. “‘Cause that’s one thing that they always say. ‘I did not know that Santa was Black.’ Santa Claus can look like pretty much anybody, so why not look like me?
“And letting them know that I can be Santa. The magic can make you whatever you want to be if you believe.”
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