Why Black Joy is Absolutely Necessary

Christy DeGallerie
Jul 8, 2017 · 3 min read

Now More Than Ever!

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Being black in America is to be tired, and angry. Exhausted because we’re educating white “allies” on and offline while trying to not sound “aggressive” and angry because when we wrap up systemic oppression to you in a bow, you still manage to tone police us and call us aggressive, which then makes us angry.

While I have you here let’s name a few other reasons why we’re tired and angry.

Black communities not having have clean water.

Our women and children are dying during childbirth.

We’re not being hired even when we’re more than qualified for the job.

Our art is stolen

Our culture is stolen.

And they wont stop killing us; Our brothers, sisters and even our children.

We have a lot to be angry for. And all of it is valid.

With all this anger it might seem hard to be happy, to find joy, because our realities keep us on edge, we’re always thinking twice about our body language our tone with police officers, avoiding eye contact with white people in areas where we are singled out.

This is constant in a Black life, so it is imperative to push through and find joyous moments. To indulge in the craft we’ve been neglecting.

During these times it’s important that in whatever we do, that we find joy in doing it.

In this movement we have to find what gives us joy and run with it. We have to celebrate ourselves and enjoy whatever gives us a smile without being shamed and feeling guilty about it, Black joy is an act of resistance.

Chanting Black Lives Matter in the streets, then dancing the night away with our friends is OK! It’s more than ok, it’s necessary. Because being Black is exhausting and fighting for our rights is even more exhausting, we deserve a night out of not being reminded about how our bodies are threats in this society.

Black joy is an act of resistance. It is great that we are becoming woke, we’re studying our history, but we shouldn’t rob ourselves from laughter and all of the simple things white people enjoy, like I don’t know, listening to music without the police being called on us. Can we just listen to music white folks? Is that ok with y’all.

Anyway, we can be angry with the way the world treats us, we can be that voice of change for our community and still bask in our art, still attend that block party, go on vacation and take a million selfies of our smiles. Having fun and enjoying ourselves isn't mutually exclusive from side-eyeing the world we live in, we can do both.

I wasn’t going to address white people but here I go.

When you hear loud music in the neighborhoods you gentrifry, when you see Black high school students in crowds dancing, happy that school is over, or a table surrounded by Black women laughing, let us be. We deserve this joy, we’re allowed to be loud for the mere fact that our voices are silenced daily. This our freedom for just a moment. Because to be brutally honest we are walking obituaries, and becoming the next hashtag is something that has crossed the minds of every black person you’ve met. So we need to enjoy every realm in our life, a life that keeps getting cut off too soon by white supremacy, environmental racism, and a system that was built to keep us back.

To my community; Being joyful IS your activism, remember that. Being care- free and Black with a smile on your face is the greatest F**k you to white supremacy. Black pain is real and it walks with us daily, but our wellness has to be at the forefront of our activism, we can’t discuss the resistance without discussing our joy. If we want to continue to fight for those in our community, especially those that are no longer with us, then we can’t fight and march on an empty fuel. Enjoying ourselves and our company is vital to the movement. With all that we face we should bask in what gives us happiness.

We deserve it.

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