Do you know that even currently (and going forth) it is OK to find joy in being black? Yeah, I said it. It is ok to find joy in being black. Especially during this time where our voices are being heard…and we are now given so many platforms to tell our story, we must include the stories of how we are happy in the skin we are in. Now, I know it sounds cliché; but it is true.
I realized that “Black Joy” stories needed to be told, displayed and shared when I was watching the BET Awards, a wonderful award show. The virtual show was better than watching it live. I mean, most of the time when a rapper is performing in front of other rappers, actors, and singers, it is pretty much a tough crowd.
When I watched the BET Awards, I notice the commercial that showed how Black Parents have to have “the talk” with their children, another commercial that showed how black men are stereotyped as soon as they walk into a store, and a commercial requesting that we sign the “Crown Act”: an act that allows people of color to wear their hair how they want to and not be discriminated against https://www.thecrownact.com/.
I heard songs from Alicia Keys (Perfect Way to Die), John Legend (Never Break) and the wonderful Queen of tributes Ms. Jennifer Hudson, perform the classic Aretha Franklin song (Young Gifted and Black). I appreciated every message and song, and my crown and heart received Viola Davis telling me I am worth it.
But at the end of the BET Awards, I could not help but think of two things:
The first thing: I really hope white America was paying attention to each message and each song and each performance. Because to me, the goal was, again, to tell white people or people not of color that “Black Lives Matter” and we want and deserve to be treated equally.
The second thing: Where is the joy of being black? Where are the ads that tell US that our black skin (maybe a threat to others but their problem not ours) is magic, it glows, it absorbs the sun, it never cracks? Where are the commercials that reminds us that #melanin is not just one shade? The skin tones of our people can fill up more than a 64 box of crayons…Yasss. Where are the commercials that reminds US that canceling our culture is not an option? Because that would be like a power outage across the world nothing would be seen. Yes, our Culture is that Powerful.
If we show and display “Black Joy” would the message that we are angry and upset about what is going on with black lives get lost? No. Black Joy as a I am learning is a form of resistance (the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.) If we think about it, we are fighting to protect our joy of being black.
There is a freedom in expressing and naming Black joy, and I want it for all of Black people around the world.@KleavCruz (https://twitter.com/KleavCruz)
We are fighting for the joy of taking a jog through our residential neighborhoods, we are fighting for the joy of wearing our hair the way we want to, we are fighting for the joy to listen to our music in our vehicles at the volume we desire, we are fighting for the joy of laying in our houses at night and not having to fear the police barging in and killing us. We are fighting for the joy of leaving the house, enjoying our day and going back home without encountering yet another “Karen”. We are fighting for the joy to be in our black skin.
Just as the protests, the marches, and the Black Lives Matter messages are important and being displayed everyday, we (myself included) must also display and share black joy from our hairstyles, through our food, with our music,expressed in our dances and celebrated daily because ALL OF THIS is our culture. Showing black joy does not mean you are not fighting; it actually the reason for the fight.
Remember, taking the time out to laugh, fellowship and think about the things that give you joy in being black is not a selfish moment for you, for me or for us. It is a crown moment and again a form of resistance. Please do not forget that telling, displaying and sharing the joy of being black is just as important as the stories we share about our struggles of being black. Never let the struggle steal your joy of being who you are destined to be: A CROWNED ONE.
Please stay tuned to www.crownones.com I will be doing my part to display Black Joy and share what brings me joy with being black beside my crown through out this positive space.
Please don’t forget your crown and don’t forget your crowned and also follow https://www.instagram.com/theblackjoyproject/