In February 2024 we hosted the “Black Joy on the Slopes” community gathering in Whistler, BC, Canada. We asked people what Black Joy means to them. As a wrap-up of Black History/Futures Month, we wanted to share a selection of quotes that will fill our hearts with joy for the rest of the year.


‘Freedom to lean into happiness however we see it. Despite what our surroundings might try to inform us our narratives or limitations are.’
– Alinane

‘The celebration of being Black and not feeling the need to change my true self ‘
– Araba

‘Black people having a space where they feel safe enough to be truly happy without judgement ‘
– Lynn

‘No holding back. No judgement. Freedom
To be who you are, in the moment. It is shared, it is profound. ‘
– Annie

‘Black Joy means celebrating our blackness. The joy comes from being in community and fellowship.’
– Nandipha

‘Black joy is when I’m able to feel at peace about being Black instead of feeling like a burden or struggle. It’s when I feel confident in my own skin and most of all, the feeling a sense of belonging. For example, I attended an event in the summer called the Vancouver Black Block Party, dancing, and appreciating Black artists, it was such a fun and new experience. It made me feel proud to be who I am. ‘
– Tineesha

‘Black joy means being able to exist freely in a space and feel genuinely happy about it. I experience black joy every time I move my body, every time I hit the mountain. I truly feel black joy, and I recognize it. I want to share it with others. Black joy is witnessing other black individuals achieve their goals, and that motivates me to pursue my own goals as well.’
– Jaylynn

‘It means let ourselves be our authentic selves, which is kind of defiant in this world tbh. Black joy is love, rest, connection.’
– Balqees

‘A Black person belly laughing with “teeth and eyes” on display :)’
– Onieka

‘Black joy for me is those beautiful connections you make with your Black peers and sometimes you don’t even have to say a word — you just know by looking, nodding, smiling. It’s that feeling of community, and inclusion. Feeling heard, understood and supported.💙’
– Brenda

‘Black joy, to me, is about celebrating the richness of my culture, embracing self-expression, and finding happiness in my journey. It’s the warmth of family gatherings, the rhythm of music that resonates with our history, and the sense of community that comes from shared experiences. It’s about breaking barriers, pursuing my passions, and reveling in the beauty of being unapologetically myself. Black joy is a powerful affirmation of resilience, strength, and the vibrant tapestry that is my identity.’
– Vimbainashe Daisy

‘To just BE without scrutiny’
– Lauren

‘Feeling uninhibited freedom of self in every space.’
– Olaitan

‘Passion, love and pursuing all things we want to do and experience and doing it unapologetically!’
– Hamdiya

‘Black Joy means embracing and celebrating the resilience, strength, and beauty of the Black community. It is finding joy in our culture, traditions, and achievements despite the challenges we face. Black Joy is a powerful act of resistance against systemic racism and a reminder of our humanity and worth. Black Joy means reclaiming our narratives and rewriting the stories that have been told about us. It is about finding joy in the simple moments of everyday life and refusing to let oppression define our existence. Black Joy is a source of inspiration and empowerment, reminding us of the limitless possibilities that lie within us. It is a collective experience that brings us together, creating a sense of belonging and unity within the Black community. ‘
– Kalisa

‘To me, Black Joy is that moment when something from your Black upbringing, community, or lifestyle brings a smile to your face.’
– Abiola

‘To me, Black Joy is inheritance, resistance, and healing. I might even call it reparation, as it is a reclamation of experiences and resource historically taken away by colonialism and white supremacy on Turtle Island and globally. Fundamentally, I feel that Black folks have a right to joy like everyone else, and for me, it feels powerful to connect to that truth. At the same time, when I think about colonization, slavery, racism and exclusion, it is clear that this right has been under attack. As a Black Woman immigrant, I understand Black Joy to be an act of resistance to the “interlocking systems of oppression” (race, class, gender) that tell me I don’t deserve to pursue joy or that I need to work to earn it. I also, through experiencing Black Joy, have found a way to reconnect with myself and others in a way that is healing. It reminds me of my worth, importance, and humanity and helps me feel less alone. Being in a caring community of friends, or even in a room of Black folx at an event has brought me joy and is a salve to the wounds I incur every day by just existing in this city/country/system.’
– Denise

‘Fulfilling my curiosity without adhering to stereotypes ‘
– Kelvin

‘When I think of Black Joy, I am reminded of a weighted blanket and the feeling of safety it brings. We are subjected to so much negativity (trauma, hate, violence, etc) on a consistent basis and I feel as though in most circumstances, I do not feel comfortable to be my authentic self. Black Joy creates a safe space to be authentically me without the limits society puts on us. In this safe space, I am able to celebrate life, love and culture.’
– Aisha

‘Doing things you love without fear of judgement ‘
– Emma

‘Collective acknowledgement, laughter, enjoying others, presence’
– Kevin

‘Unbridled unapologetic unhindered and a little unhinged 😂’
– Jaylen

‘Feeling completely comfortable in my own skin and surroundings, feeling appreciated, like my opinions are heard and appreciated, feeling free, feeling on par with other ethnicities, i.e not lesser than, seeing other Black people progress in academic and professional fields and situations which historically were not designed for them, uplifting other Black people as opposed to tearing each other down, eradication of discrimination, seeing LGBTQIA+ Black people love themselves and others freely, unapologetically and without judgement from any individuals but especially not from our fellow Black community, non-profiling, seeing other Black people thrive and live long, healthy, happy and respectable lives.’
– Rochelle

‘Health, Exploration, Freedom, Agency & Purpose!’
– Sefanit

‘Black joy for me is unapologetically celebrating who we are and where we’ve come from. It’s about being visible in spaces where we are not historically always seen and showing up through the power of togetherness and joy! It’s about celebrating all the parts of blackness and having space to completely be ourselves.’
– Zoe

‘Black joy means to me community, togetherness. Being able to be my true self without judgment and prejudice ‘
– Eyma

‘Black joy to me is resistance and enjoyment despite adversity. It is not possible to be black without adversity in this world but it is possible and preferable to lean into moments of happiness and unfiltered joy, loudly, proudly or silently and introspectively. I think black joy is impenetrable. ‘
– Sofia

‘resistance and freedom. joy inspite of circumstances’
– Shireen

‘Recently it’s been feeling like the safe place you feel in gravitating towards your community. Whether it’s in a big room or a small group of friends. I was recently abroad at a big European conference and it was a really politically and culturally difficult space to be in. There was this feeling of immense relief that washes over you joining a group of the other Black and African delegates on a coffee break in the conference lounge laughing and breaking off the stress of the day. Having our own group chat with people who understand context that others don’t, decompressing together, going out dancing together, etc, etc. It’s refuelling in spaces that can feel draining. ‘
– Rita

‘Black joy means having fun and enjoying what life has to offer while embracing who I am as a Black person. ‘
– Denise

‘The freedom to be 100% in my element, having fun and not caring who’s watching or has an opinion about it. Doing this with other Black folks is a vibe!’
– Kagowa

‘Black people thriving and vibing, unhindered in any community or setting.’
– Kris

‘Black Joy means expanding the horizons of happiness that were set by imaginary social structures against Black people. Expressing and experiencing my inner child judgement- free’
– Juanita

‘It means finding joy in all things that are steeped in Black culture, norms and experiences. From food to lifestyle and even the diversity of shades of our skin, Black joy means to take pride in everything that blackness represents.’
– Kika Simone

‘Community, networking, friendship, sharing’
– Ruth

‘Finding joy within Black people and freedom to enjoy what makes you happy ‘
– Celine

‘Being unabashedly and unapologetically me!!’
– Cindy

‘Black joy means to be my self ‘
– Merhawit

‘a supportive community where Black people share their brand of joy to the group’
– Abby

‘Black Joy is being able to find joy, healing, and self-fulfillment in areas where our community has faced traumatic experiences, systemic barriers and other forms of barriers.’
– Patrick

‘It means community, shared love and resistance! ✊🏾’
– Renee

‘To me it means just positivity and relatability between fellow Black people without strings attached, just pure sincerity ‘
– Terrell

‘A shared community experience that is positive, joyous and full of laughter, admiration and empathetic happiness.’
– Breanne

‘To me, Black joy involves celebrating and embracing the differences of Black people as well as our collective similarities and experiences. For me, it also means having fun without self-consciousness about standing out from the broader population.’
– Mobolaji

‘Finding joy and celebrating your roots and where you come from.’
– Madeleine

‘Black Joy means being able to thrive and exist fully and without barriers. It means the creation and cultivation of spaces dedicated solely to the happiness and freedom of our communities where we can come together laugh, share, build and enjoy – unapologetically!!’
– Tyjana

‘Black Joy to me means connection, feeling seen, laughter and celebration! ‘
– Shanique

‘It is a celebration of resilience, triumph and the richness of the Black experience. It is a powerful affirmation of our identity of Black culture ‘
– Ornella

‘Representation, being safe’
– Tsitsi

‘It’s a practice, and it is steeped in how I hold onto hope, during the darkest of times. Which feels like the moment that we are in, now. Black joy is resilience and it has the potential to be reviving. ‘
– Amina

‘Black Joy, to me, is a testament to the richness of experiences and the ability to create moments of happiness despite societal pressures.’
– Norette

‘Its Christmas in February ‘
– Happy

‘Black joy to me means embracing, nurturing and loving EVERYTHING Black culture. From the creativity of Black cultures to our painful and beautiful history of resilience. We deserve to laugh, break down barriers and lift each other up because there’s nothing else in the world like Black joy. It means celebrating our differences (including cultural, sexual orientation and interests) and our similarities because Black is beautiful (Chronixx said it best!)’
– Chelsea

‘Black joy to me means anything that supports and uplifts Black culture.’
– Wame

‘Black joy to me represents a celebration of resilience, strength and cultural richness within the Black community. It shows happiness and pride despite historical and systemic challenges. Growing up in a PWI I never felt seen, but the more I grew up the more I realized I was extremely happy to be Black because it meant more than that. Being able to express my culture has shaped me into who I am today.’
– Miranda

‘Comfort and trust in a supportive community that got you no matter what! And that understands the struggles of being Black! ‘
– Manuella

‘The moments where you can be care free as a Black person ‘
– Nana

‘Black Joy is about health, it’s about community, it’s about acceptance, empowerment and love, Black joy is about ease and abundance ‘
– Savannah

‘To me, Black Joy means finding my place in the Black culture and be comfortable with my own identity. Growing up in Japan, I have always felt like I am out of place because I am Black. Here in Vancouver, I still feel like I don’t fit in with Asian community or Black community because I am mixed race. If I can finally feel sense of belonging and be at peace with my identity, that would be a great joy to me.’
– Chloe

‘It means engaging in laughter and love. It means surviving against all odds. It means channelling joy that couldn’t and can’t be taken away from us. It means relief, inspiration and empowerment. It means radical self-love.’
– Akeyo

‘Black joy means freedom of expression and happiness sorrow ding Black people and any other nationality who they choose around them ‘
– Terrence

‘Seeing Black excellence and forming community and challenging the status quo that we don’t belong’
– Alecia

‘Surrounding myself with more Black people pushing boundaries with a massive smile on our faces’
– Krisann

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