‘Here comes Dreezy Claus’: Black Santa visiting Chicago kids via Zoom

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CHICAGO — It will take more than a pandemic for Dreezy Claus to miss talking with children this Christmas season.

Andre Russell calls himself Chicago’s “Black Santa,” and he is gearing up for the holidays. He is offering children and their parents to speak with him virtually, WFLD reported.

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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.

UPDATE - Due to the current concerns of COVID Spikes and an effort to minimize contamination we are temporarily...

Posted by Dreezy Claus - Chicago's Black Santa on Monday, November 16, 2020

“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.”

Dreezy Claus said he had a holiday message: “Definitely love one another, keep the faith, and keep strong. We have to endure this together.”