smiling young woman in a swing

Black in America: 6 beautiful antidotes to despair

This summer was tough. By September, reading my news feed in the morning had me literally sobbing. We have so much to be proud of, and yet, it’s exhausting to be black in America. Let me repeat that: It’s exhausting to be black in America.

While it’s not my only reason, the current climate has definitely contributed to my need to spend time outside of this country. In the meantime, here we are. And because you find what you look for, I decided to look for things that truly make America great for me.

I found ways to inject my social media feeds with images of black people loving life and loving each other. There’s a defiance in our expressions of joy by any means necessary. The freedom to dance, the freedom to laugh out loud, the freedom to be ourselves — because that’s how we do.

1. the BLACK JOY project

Activist Kleaver Cruz created The Black Joy Project as a form of resistance and as an antidote to being continually retraumatized by the news.

portraits of smiling black men and women on Instagram

2. #carefreeblackkids2k16

Heben Nigatu (@heavenrants) created this hashtag on Twitter to invite some much-needed joy into an otherwise harrowing summer:

screenshot of #carefreeblackkids tweets on Twitter

which naturally spilled over onto Instagram:

photos of black kids being happy

3. #BlackGirlMagic

This hashtag, originally created by CaShawn Thompson (@thepbg), celebrates the beauty and amazingness embodied by black women and girls. Ashley Ford describes Black Girl Magic in an article for Elle magazine, arguing that it:

…encapsulates the grand and heartbreaking experience of being a black woman in this world. Black Girl Magic moves way beyond the trope of impenetrable strength, and because it was created by a black woman, includes the inside joke of calling what we’ve always known to be real about our capabilities “magic.”

6 images of black women and children looking happy and content

4. @DopeDances

Watching Americans dance, you have no doubt that black culture is one of the best parts of this country. And, as Emma Goldman said in 1931, “If I can’t dance, then it’s not my revolution!”

5. AfroPunk

I admit I haven’t explored the AfroPunk scene or attended the concert, but I love the visuals of black people styling themselves individualistically futuristic.

images from AfroPunk festival 2016 in Brooklyn

6. National Museum of African American History & Culture

We finally experienced the historic grand opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture. It’s about damn time. And it’s good. It’s very good.

images from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture homepage

So, dear reader,
HOw did you survive the summer of 2016?
What joy did you find to lift your spirits?

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