I woke up feeling like a ton of bricks were on top of me that morning. I could not get out of my bed. I laid still, heavy, wondering what was the source of my sadness. I thought about how, earlier that year, my family and I had experienced the sudden and tragic loss of my uncle Ali—may he rest in peace. I thought about how present I was for and to Black death and pain through my organizing work with various activist collectives in New York City, and the ways I felt bombarded by these things on a daily basis. By the time I woke up that morning, I had already made a commitment to not watch anymore videos of Black death and continue refusing to repost them anywhere on the internet.
I decided that my social media timelines needed some joy amidst the sharing of important information, thoughts, art, photos and videos that can be upsetting and at its worst depressing and (re)traumatizing. So, I posted a picture of my mom smiling on Facebook and asked for others to post their #BlackJoy moments. I then decided to take on a 30-day personal challenge (that I kept to myself) to share photos of Black joy. After a few weeks and a couple of moving responses, it seemed right to make this a regular installation and share it more openly. It was then that The Black Joy Project was formally born. It has been a journey of traveling and being in community with Black people in all kinds of places and contexts to understand what Black joy means to us wherever we exist in the world and how it can be a source of healing, community building and ultimately a contribution to revolutionary practices that will realize global Black liberation. Welcome!