The Black Joy Project creator explains why he centers Black joy in an anti-Black world
When people contemplate the ways that anti-Blackness converges upon those of us who are of the Black African Diaspora – and who also identify as Black – they can make oppression seem insurmountable. The alternatives can seem both binary and grim: bury oneself in mountains of racist news, history and despair or bury one’s head in the sand to avoid persistent sadness. But, nah.
We have always been people who prioritized joy. Joy gives us love, family, art, music, quit wit and resilience. And in that spirit, one Black man decided to make digital space for Black people to congregate joyfully and share selfies, art, GIFs, messages and more to collectively lift Black spirits as an act of revolution.
“Two years ago, I woke up wishing that I could go back to sleep and wake up to a more just and Black-loving world,” Kleaver Cruz wrote for CassiusLife. Cruz turned his pain and frustration into a digital project called the Black Joy Project, and now the hashtag #TheBlackJoyProject is a thing of beauty.
“I realized the challenge I had taken on, The Black Joy Project, was a call to community-transformation. The Black Joy Project—a digital and real-world effort to center Black joy—is a form of resistance,” he said. Cruz called on joyful Black people to envision a different world.
“What does life after the revolution look like? I imagine that Black folks are full of joy and healing in that world. I fight to ensure that Black folks anywhere and everywhere have access to their joy. Black joy is also a consequence of community.”
In a world that often heaps too much, too often and too readily on Black people, this project is a light spot.