The Power of Black Joy

In 2020, I like everyone else in the world experienced something that felt like a scene out of an apocalypse movie. COVID-19 rocked the entire world, and people everywhere were scared for themselves and their loved ones.

Living in New York City gave me a front-row seat to the virus that seemed to not have an Achilles heel. We were masked up while being glued to the television, and overnight the city that never sleeps became known as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while it seemed like the entire world was coming together to fight the same villain, racism still found a way to beat a global pandemic.

On March 25, 2020, Donald Trump (our then-president) finally hit the red button and declared a state of emergency. And on May 25, 2020, (just three months later) George Floyd was murdered while in police custody. His death was filmed and that video would ultimately lead to protests around the world.51tf 7N CfL

I vividly remember trying to find a reason to smile during that time–I couldn’t. Where was my joy?

At the time I can say that I overlooked many joyous moments because of so much loss. In the midst of what seemed like all hell breaking loose, Black Joy was ever-present.

It was there when I started cooking in the kitchen with my mother and when I began coloring with my six-year-old niece. It was there during the many movie nights that my sisters and I shared.

It was nestled deep into the chants, dances, and songs that the protesters yelled out every time they hit the streets.

It was in the TikTok dances and skits that Black people created that made me laugh. And it was definitely in the Verzus battles that had me looking forward to the commentary from Black Twitter.

Black Joy has always been present among our people, and in my opinion, it coexists with Black pain.

I got the chance to have a candid conversation with Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts, author and co-author of now 18 books, professor, host of the podcast Heart Talk, and the founder of HeARTspace.

We talked about her recent book Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration, and took a deep look into the many ways that Black Joy can be used as a tool for resistance.

Listen & Watch

Sistah Girls Book Club Podcast Tracey




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