In Search of Black Joy


Black joy is as rare as a family secret. Ask the wrong person and it never existed. But once you know, it’s as omnipresent as God. The trick is knowing where to find it. Unlike happiness, Joy isn’t something that demands solitude. It isn’t selfish. It isn’t stable. Staining the air with its presence, it never promises to stay long.


Many mistake Joy as an overzealous solitude but that’s because they’ve never felt agony. Joy is not the absence of pain but the presence of freedom. A release of fear. The liberation that comes when you’re moving through the sky and the ground doesn’t scare you. Because even though you’ve never felt it, you know it’s solid. So rather than looking down, you look up.


Joy in the presence of Blackness is a siren call to the heavens. The sky opens up and Raphael sores down to see God’s creation, see God. Joy does not exist opposite of pain it exists because of it. Joy is a re-birth of hope. It’s a frozen moment in time and to know it is to seek it, unapologetically. And while it’s never where you expect it to be, it’s always exactly where it told you to look.


You’ll find Black joy at the drop of beat on a summer night, in the presence of heat. The council of ancestors will surround the sky and they’ll look down on us and our spirits will rise. The heart becomes the soul of the djembe and the girls on the dancefloor, our tribe. We’ll express ourselves widely and full, drawing our truth to the front of our existence, much like the moon to the tide.



You’ll hear Black joy on Sunday at 3. Surrounding a wooden table, a family, and a feast. A necessity marked by tradition, recipes passed through time on down. It’s not the master’s God they praised but the saving grace that they had found.


Black joy exists as a tool of narration where most similes and prose fall flat. The story of negros is God’s favorite tragedy. The presence of joy is his comic relief. Bubbles that pops from the heat of bated breath and the daggers shot up from underneath. What cruel irony that God condemned his greatest creation and left the pharaohs to their own devices. And when he returns he’ll call off our names, cast out our oppressor and he’ll call us his precious sacrifice.



Black joy exists in the inches of the stigmata. Every cut, a pain of faith. It fills the crack of broken mirrors and it soothes in the presence of hate.


Seek Black joy often, and watch her allude you for she comes on her own time. Black joy will commence when our rhythm outweighs our blues, ever ours, ever mine, ever thine.

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