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Discover the first issue of our zine: Black Joy

I'm proud to announce the launch of the first issue of our zine, dedicated to Black Joy! You can read it online here.

Is there a better feeling in the world than working on an exciting creative project with close friends? When Sanaa and I decided to work on a zine, we did not even have the beginning of an idea of a topic. The only thing we knew is that we wanted to bring our creative minds together and put out something new and spectacular in the world.

As the editor of 33 Carats, an online magazine dedicated to urban culture, Sanaa has her finger on the pulse. As for me, I could bring in artists from my platform, Ayoka, to illustrate our content. Then Sanaa brought in the mix, Nadina, a talented graphic designer and kindred spirit. All three of us felt a lot of joy while discussing the project; joy when learning how to put together a zine and joy again when planning the work in our group chat. We decided that this mood, this feeling would be the focus of the first issue of the zine.

 

Black Joy Cover

The same way that some people have a hard time understanding the concepts of #BlackLivesMatter or #BlackGirlMagic, some won’t understand #BlackJoy: Don’t all people deserve to feel joy? What is so specific about the type of joy felt by Black people?

To answer these questions, we went around and asked people what #BlackJoy meant to them. We spoke to activists (Kleaver Cruz, p.30), artists (Adrienne Waheed, p.20; Arya Haliba, p. 50) who believe that Black joy is a way of resisting racism, sexism and all forms of oppression. We explored spaces designed specifically for Black people to express joy freely and unapologetically (Black Joy Parade,  p. 14 and Carnival vibes, p. 26).  We came out of these encounters reinforced in our idea that Black joy is transformative and revolutionary when you dare and allow yourself to feel it. One person who seems to have this locked is Whitney Madueke, owner of the most gorgeous smile and our cover girl. As a model and influencer, Whitney has learnt that her joy is rooted in self-love and is deeper when authentically shared with her followers (p. 6). For others, like visual artist Delphine Alphonse, joy resides in the quiet and reflective moments of her daily life (p.34). Therapist Cecil B. Walker gives us the keys to cultivating joy (p. 62), while activist Axelle Jah Njike urges Black women to explore their body and sexuality as a source of joy.

We could go on and on about the wonderful stories shared by our contributors, through their words and art but we prefer to you explore it for yourself. In a world that would rather share stories of Black trauma, we have decided to make this zine a beautiful celebration of Blackness.

Help us share the joy by sending this zine to your friends and igniting discussions on what joy means to you, with the tag:

#blackjoyzine

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