5 Ways to Manifest Black Joy

By Jaimee A. Swift

With our current state of affairs, the mental, emotional and even physical fatigue that is ignited by the onslaught of racism, racialized gender violence, sexism and other harrowing issues can be utterly overwhelming. Although it is important to engaged and conscious to the horrific events and news occurring in our world, it is equally important to maintain our peace, manage our self-care and to continuously manifest our Black Joy.

Here are five ways in which you can nurture your joy and happiness in a world that is attempting to block it.

1. Traveling within the African Diaspora

Traveling is a great way to nourish your Black Joy by immersing yourself in the multifaceted and diverse cultures of the African Diaspora. Whether you are traveling to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; or Lusaka, Zambia, exploring the sights, sounds, food, and people can initiate a renewal of spirit and an appreciation of Black cultures.

Not sure where to travel? Make sure to follow these Instagram profiles for daily Black travel inspiration: @SoulSociety @BlackAdventuristas @TravelNoire @ownbyfemme @worldlyseb.

2. Creating and Joining “Sista” Circles and Collectives

It’s a celebration, every time we link up!

Surrounding yourself with girlfriends and fun is a surely a great way to generate Black Joy. Creating and joining “sista” circles and collectives serve as enjoyable outlets for Black women to discuss various issues and topics and in the process, create long-lasting bonds and sisterhoods. It can be over coffee, a few drinks, or just a picnic at the park. Meeting up with your sistas and enjoying the company of other Black women can make room for a lot of laughs, sharing of stories, advice and just overall fun.

Examples of such collectives include the Black and Defiant Womanists Collective (BAD), based out of Philadelphia and New York; the African Women’s Diaspora Network (DAWN), based out of New York and DC; and the Ain’t I a Woman Collective, which aims to centre the voices of women with African ancestry in Europe and beyond.

Want to keep up with these Black women-centered groups? You can follow them on Instagram and Twitter:

Instagram and Twitter: @BADWomanists
Twitter: @DAWNInc
Instagram and Twitter: @AIAWC

3. Reading While Black

Nothing is better than delving into a good book and being empowered by the words and stories of Black women authors. There are countless books by Black women that can pique your interests and span the literary spectrum based on your interests. Whether it is autobiographical, short stories, academic, or fiction, reading can stimulate your mind and create an alternative space for imagination and understanding.

Below our 20 books written by Black women authors that you should add to your collection.
  1. Half of the Yellow Sun & Americanah by Chimamanda Adiche
  2. Love in My Language by Alexandra Elle
  3. Africana Womanism: Reclaiming Ourselves by Clenora Hudson-Weems
  4. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America by Melissa Harris-Perry
  5. Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston 
  6. The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley by Phillis Wheatley 
  7. Jubilee by Margaret Walker
  8. On Beauty by Zadie Smith 
  9. Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology by Barbara Smith 
  10. Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self Recovery by bell hooks 
  11. I Put A Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone by Nina Simone
  12. The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips 
  13. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought by Beverly Guy-Sheftall
  14. Lucille Clifton Volume I by Lucille Clifton 
  15. Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm
  16. If They Come in the Morning, Voices of Resistance by Angela Y. Davis
  17. We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity by bell hooks
  18. Daughter by Asha Bandele
  19. The Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid
  20. The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress-Welsing 
4. Shopping Black-Owned

For many, shopping already brings the ultimate joy. But shopping from Black Woman-owned businesses? Priceless!

By supporting our sisters, we too, can incite Black joy in them, as well as the entrepreneurial fortitude of our communities. Plus, they just have some really dope stuff!

Don’t know where to shop Black-woman owned? Here are 30 Black-Woman owned businesses for you to shop and support! Also, make sure to follow For Harriet’s Instagram page for dope deals @ReallyDopeDeals.

5. Convening with the Elders

Although having fun with friends and peers is a great way to incite Black Joy, convening and listening to the words of elders is imperative. Whether grandparents, great-aunts or uncles, or just elders who reside within your prospective communities, take the time to sit-down and learn from their legacy and wisdom. It is important to manifest your Black Joy with them and never forget the sacrifices that they made for us to be here.

Black Joy Tip: If you want to keep the legacy of the elders alive, ask their permission to record your conversations and stories. This is a great way to preserve their wisdom and keep their stories alive for future generations to come.

Photo: Amaal Said

Jaimee A. Swift is a graduate of Howard University and Temple University with a Master of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, respectively. A writer and truth-seeker at heart, Swift is contributing writer at For Harriet. You can follow her on Twitter @jaimeeswift.

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