URGENT REMINDER: The fundraiser for reopening the National Black Doll Museum ends TONIGHT. If you are able to donate a few dollars please do, and either way, please share the fundraiser link as widely as you can. Many thanks! ☮️ -Iris.
Today, the last day of Black History Month, we’re going to listen to Black people speak about Black joy.
10 exceptional people who are using Black joy as a form of resistance: Black joy is about “manifesting the joy that you need, deserve, or desire,” says Kleaver Cruz of The Black Joy Project.
Kleaver Cruz of the “Black Joy Project” is just one of many who have been encouraging Black people to choose joy as a form of resistance.
Cruz notes that Black joy is a type of “internally driven” happiness that can happen when someone consciously chooses pleasure as a way to combat the traumas of racism.
(image: The Black Joy Project via Instagram)
Cruz’s text accompanying this image reads:
Because it is and always has been, mi gente. Black Joy is integral to our freedom and its bigger than happiness. Black Joy offers a space to imagine out loud and practice what life on the other side of a revolution can be. It is an opportunity for healing and we need healed people to fight this fight so that we can be as whole as possible by the end of it.
You can read and view much more about the Black Joy Project on Kleaver Cruz’s website and Instagram. And the rest of the Today article delivers what it promises: an introduction to ten exceptional people using Black joy as a form of resistance – and healing.
A menu for celebrating Black joy: Black chef Will Coleman shares recipes for comfort food that celebrate Black history.
Food has always been the way I rejoice in my history, find gratitude for my present and feel hopeful about my future.
So, in celebration of Black history, I’ve created a complete spread — from breakfast to dessert — that really brings the comfort.
Caramelized French Toast with Praline Sauce
(image: Will Coleman via Today)
Will Coleman’s recipes for fried Cajun shrimp and pimento cheese grits, French onion mac and cheese, and chai-spiced peach cobbler with pistachio-oat crumble are also at the link.
(Dear Lard. Isn’t it fantastic that it’s always Brunch O’Clock at Death to Squirrels?)
11 Black Creatives on What Home Means to Them: A conversation about the cultural significance of the Black home.
11 [creatives] speak about how they define the concept of home, when they started curating their own spaces, the impact of growing up in Black households, and the significance of being a future homeowner.
A cozy corner in content executive Jasmyn Lawson’s sun-soaked L.A. apartment.
(image: Jasmyn Lawson via Clever/Architectural Digest)
Some of these stories are about the concept of “home” being the only, or best, safe space for Black people to feel they can truly be who they are. This is simultaneously both something to celebrate, and a sad commentary on the rest of us and the world we inhabit, and create.
Speaking of Black homes and Black joy, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz opened their magnificent home to Architectural Digest for a video tour.
I love everything about this, including the couple’s support and love of Black artists and artisans whose works fill their extraordinary home. You can read more about the house and see additional photos at the accompanying article.
If this kind of thing brings YOU joy, see also:
AD’s YouTube channel (search “architectural digest black celebrity homes,” and try to ignore and scroll past Gwyneth Paltrow, who is on the cover of the current print issue. Matter of fact, I highly recommend always ignoring Gwyneth Paltrow.)
In closing this series, I must say I have learned a great deal about Black history that I did not know before, and I am more convinced than ever that Black history IS American history. There is no way to untie that knot, if we are honest and care about the truth.
I have been introduced to the work of activists and artists I did not know before. I have shared their work and their voices with other whites, to whom this series was explicitly directed. I believe that we whites can learn to do better and be better in our anti-racist work: both the work we need to do within ourselves, and the work we need to do in the world we all share. Through this exercise, I have been given the gift of so much to reflect on over the coming days, weeks, months, years. I hope to write about that, too.
I also kinda wish this were a leap year.
☮️ + 💟
Day 1 of Black History Month 2022 (Lori Teresa Yearwood) is here.
Day 2 (Mallence Bart-Williams) is here.
Day 3 (Emmett Till) is here.
Day 4 (A Tale of Two Citizens) is here.
Day 5 (Trayvon Martin) is here.
Day 6 (Franchesca Ramsey) is here.
Day 7 (National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and the Black Aids Institute) is here.
Day 8 (extreme racial disparities in marijuana arrests) is here.
Day 9 (Summer of Soul/1969 Harlem Cultural Festival) is here.
Day 10 (current and historic racist domestic terrorism, Steve Phillips/Democracy in Color) is here.
Day 11 (Gee’s Bend Quilters) is here.
Day 12 (egregious anti-Black (& anti LGBTQ+) behavior at a NY State high school is here.
Day 13 (Erin Jackson, 1st Black woman to win Olympic gold medal in speedskating) is here.
Day 14 (Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions) is here.
Day 15 (racial inequities in spiking vehicle death rates during the pandemic compound and are compounded by other racial inequities, and The New York Times buries the lede) is here.
Day 16 (criminalizing protest/Color of Change) is here.
Day 17 (Flo Kennedy) is here.
Day 18 (3 news stories on the same day regarding police killings of Black people) is here.
Day 19 (Andrew Joseph III/qualified immunity) is here.
Day 20 (Dr. Catherine L. Pugh/”There Is No Such Thing As A White Ally”) is here.
Day 21 (Black cowboys, Black rodeo and photographer Justin Hardiman) is here.
Day 22 (National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture fundraiser) is here.
Day 23 (“Helping” and four petitions) is here.
Day 24 (Black Americans you probably don’t know of, but should) is here.
Day 25 (Reparations Awareness Day/EJI’s Segregation in America) is here.
Day 26 (Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination to U.S. Supreme Court) is here.
Day 27 (resources for exploring the Harlem Renaissance) is here.