It is fitting to end our month of study and reflection with a celebration of two students of color, whose uplifting poems were recently published in a collection compiled by The Black Joy Project
and 826 Boston. The book, To My Kin, celebrates black joy through the voices of twenty six young writers, ranging from age 11 to age 20. Ananya R. was honored to be selected, mentioning that it was important for her to write about "what it means to be Black, have joy, and be happy." Mahali C.'s poem "What is Black Joy?" defines it as, "being yourself, celebrating your culture, no matter what."
Both Grade 8 students have continued to express their ideas through poetry and short fiction, especially enjoying freewriting opportunities in their English classes. They both enjoy all opportunities to express their identities through the power of the written word.
Join us in honoring Black History Month, celebrating black joy, and recognizing these young writers by reading their poems below.
What is Black Joy?
By Mahali C.
Black, brown, tan skin,
curly, kinky, wavy hair
all shapes and sizes have one thing in common,
we are all African in one way or another.
Some are first-generation immigrants,
some have had family Living in America for a while,
Black Joy is being African in one way or another.
Joy, excitement, happiness,
different words all with similar meanings.
They are feelings we deserve,
both to feel and to give to others,
Black Joy is having these good feelings.
each person can have a different perception,
to me it means being true to your black self,
even when people don’t want to accept you,
being yourself, celebrating your culture, no matter what.
By Ananya R.
Blackness is a vast and defiant joy,
Powerful and healing for black people
Black joy is a form of resistance
To stand up confident
In the midst of discrimination
Black joy is their essence
Strong, Resilient, Perseverant
They persevere as people
And still have their joy
Joy may be freedom
Or it might be resistance
But in the end
Joy is a form of happiness and satisfaction
These people are fearless
And in that, they rejoice
Turning the world and white perceptions upside down
In their black joy