Beyoncé has officially changed the name of Coachella to Beychella after two weekends of amazing performances steeped in Black culture and arts. Meek Mill has been released from prison, and in the true spirit of someone ready to make the best of his life as a free man, he went straight to a basketball game. Janelle Monae is returning at the end of the week with a new album and visual project that is sure to fulfill all of our deepest afrofuturist dreams. The point I’m trying to make is that it has been a good week for Black folks, Kanye West exempted. Pop culture has given us so many reasons to be happy, and I want to do my part to keep that momentum going. What else already exists to keep the spirit of Black joy alive and well?
I wanted an authoritative list so to make sure I got it right, so I brought in some experts.
Amber J. Phillips is the High Priestess of Black Joy, and Jazmine Walker is “Da KOS” (King of the South). Together they are the hosts of The Black Joy Mixtape podcast, a bi-weekly musing on politics and Black culture. They prioritize Black joy in all things, but believe that pursuing it is “our right and an act of resistance within itself.” For them, “Black joy is a celebration of love, rage, healing, and pleasure.” In other words, all of the things that come forth when Black folks are being their truest selves. “We deserve to experience Black joy in our everyday lives and throughout the media,” Phillips and Walker explained. After that week we’ve had, I think we would all agree.
So when you’re experiencing a lull or slowdown in your life, revisit this list of 10 movies about Black joy.