Black and Jubilant: Unpacking Black Joy From the Revolutionary to the Ordinary

Black. Joy.

We absolutely love to see it—in all of its forms. From cute Black babies learning to walk for the first time to the protest songs and dances of the 2020 Uprisings and everything in between—give us all of your acts of human beings rejoicing in Blackness.

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Heck, here at The Root we are enamored with the celebration of Black joy so much that the site has designated February to be “Black Joy Month.” Every day, a staff member highlights a moment that is particularly celebratory of Blackness—whatever that might mean to the respective person—in our 28 Days of Black Joy series. Take a look; you will thank me.

While Black joy might seem lofty and perhaps even ethereal to some, we are seeing the notion of Black joy manifest in very concrete ways through academia.

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André L. Brock is an associate professor at Georgia Tech who is also known for his pioneering research on Black Twitter. Brock explores Black joy in the digital space through his work Distributed Blackness and says that we’re seeing this phenomenon make waves on social media, in part, as a response to racial battle fatigue, or the exhaustion that Black people feel from the onslaught of images of Black trauma. “You have moments of joy, and find joy in your everyday life, to be able to survive these moments of affront, these moments of injury and insult,” Brock told The Root.

“I would argue that a lot of oppressed populations turn to expressions of joy and make them more potent because they understand that life is not promised to you. The next day is not promised,” he said.

As Black joy has made waves on social media, so emerged another space for this pride and jubilance to flourish.

In 2015 writer and educator Kleaver Cruz created The Black Joy Project. While the initiative is, perhaps, best known for its presence on Instagram, Cruz says that most of the organization’s work is not online.

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“Black joy is a way to remind the world that we’re here and our joy does matter. And it’s actually one of the keys for these revolutions.” Cruz continued, “And these changes are necessary for the world that doesn’t exist yet—that actually loves us back.”

Black joy is everywhere. It’s a collective experience that can even be an act of resistance. Watch as we delve into the ways that Black joy has manifested around us in this episode of Unpack That.

Afro-Cuban woman that was born and branded in New York. When León isn't actually creating cool videos, she's thinking of cool videos that she can create.

DISCUSSION

that HAIR tho!!!!

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