Celebrating Black History Month: Black Joy

May 26, 2021

Reflections from Heart & Hand Development Director Gwen Farnsworth on Black joy during Black History Month.

Where society has told Black people to “be quiet”, or that we’re “too loud”, reveling in joy is an act of resistance. - CHANTE JOSEPH

Like many Black girls, I have often been told I am too loud. Too bossy. Too much at meetings. Too ambitious. Too much. And what do we do as Black women when we are told these things? Well, in 2021 – we do whatever we want, because a hearty laugh with community is exactly the healing joy I want to be about right now.

2020 was a slog of a year. As a community we have lost many and have stood in protest and prayer for justice and peace. It is right to do those things, and it is right to remember that we do these things because of the love we bear for each other. Love that comes from 400 years of struggle has deep roots, and should be celebrated like Morpheus riled up all those people in Zion when he announced WE ARE STILL HERE.

And we are still here and still thriving despite grief. Grandparents and parents and cousins and those folks that aren’t your cousins (but they are anyway) and clergy and teachers and doctors and activists – still here. Still achieving excellence and making progress and living legacy. Still dancing and writing and creating and inspiring and doing it with style and substance.

I’m paying my joy forward too - looking forward to cookouts in the summer with cards and friends and family and kids running around making good trouble. I want to hear all the loud music, terrible jokes, generous lies, and somebody yelling about the big joker. I want to laugh until my sides hurt and I’m crying and can’t catch my breath. I am going to give everybody the biggest hugs.

This Black History month, I hope you embrace your joy with gusto and turn it up to 11. Joy is contagious, and we all deserve more of it.

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