Black Joy is known as a form of activist movement for Black people. It is the enjoyment of Black culture without shame or hesitancy; its center is “pride in Black forms of beauty, creativity, ingenuity and thriving” (Alexis, et al. 52). Due to the long, painful history of Black people and culture, the media, literature, and cinema are seen to be exploiting this history as narratives. The Black Joy movement disobeys these narratives by displaying happiness and pride. According to Fromm, the act of disobedience is the first step into independence and freedom (683). Being publicly happy and joyful can be considered an act of resistance for Black people, challenging the status quo.
The stereotypical roles Black people occupy in media and the overused plots portraying Black culture’s difficulties can be considered harmful. Promoting the view that the Black people are seen as proud and joyful can erase the painful image of oppressed and weakened people. Expressing Black Joy is not just to be happy; it is signaling strength in the face of history that sought to keep Black people down (Roderique). Black Joy resists the popularization of Black pain, encouraging Black people to seek happiness and be proud of themselves.
The Black Joy can be considered an act of disobedience of the oppressed and weakened image forced on Black people by mainstream media. It is a response to such Black culture’s exploitations; it represents the Black culture as something to be proud of, not something one-dimensionally traumatic. This disobedience has a righteous cause: fighting the exploitation of Black pain by displaying happiness and joy is a way to be independent of society’s portrayal. As such, disobeying the unjust and repressive society can be judged as virtuous rather than immoral.
Alexis, Nekeisha A., et al. “I will rejoice: Reflections on Black joy.” Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology, vol. 21, no. 2, 2020, pp. 52-60.
Fromm, Erich. On Disobedience and Other Essays. Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984.
Roderique, Hadiya. The Case for Black Joy, Fashion, 2019. Web.