Black Joy is incredibly important, it's the thing that we need so deeply but it's hard to keep but it's the thing that will spark motivation to keep us going”

~ Makayla

Black joy

Black joy

Black joy

Is ours

Is ours

Is ours

Black joy

Black joy

Black joy

Is ours

Is ours

Is ours

Black joy

Is ours

Black joy

Black joy

Black joy

Is ours

Is ours

Is ours

Black joy

Black joy

Black joy

Is ours

Is ours

Is ours

Why Black Joy?

Narratives are everything. What we are told and tell ourselves about what we need, what is important and what we have a right to, often determines how we show up in the world.

Black people have the right to Joy. Our joy is not an optional luxury, it is a necessity.

The impact of Covid-19 on Black communities was a stark reminder of the injustice and trauma often entwined within UK Black experiences. For Rooted, the pandemic was a signal to centre joy, as a way to nourish, strengthen and spark reimaginings of the future. Our work has found that although joy is a universal experience, Black Joy is something quite different - but a necessary condition for individual and collective change.

A joyful project

Over the last 6 months Rooted by Design have been working with Black communities across the UK to deepen our collective understanding about the opportunities, value and importance of Joy.

Three questions have underpinned our 6 month journey:

01.

How can we create spaces for Black people to experience intentional moments of joy?

02.

What are the conditions, accessibility and impact of joy in our everyday lives?

03.

How can joy create abundant futures for Black communities?

A creative exploration

We wanted our exploration to embody the joy we wanted to experience and create, tapping into our collective creativity, building connections and ensuring people felt heard and seen.

From curating a digital experience with partners and practitioners centring joy, collaborating with organisations across 5 cities to and listening to people from all walks of life….we were able to surface untold narratives about Joy.

Gathering from quotes and insights by the community we heard that:

Black joy is

Black joy is

found in our identity

Celebrating culture, identity and self despite the world often seeking to do the opposite

Black joy is

in our expression

What the conditions are to unapologetically express the nuances of all that you are, Black and more and for that expression to be both seen and accepted

Black joy is

in our community

Being in spaces with those who share our experiences, which often breeds a shared vibration and language that connects us on a higher level

Dear Black
Child

[a story to generations]

What we all experienced and unearthed during the project felt too important and too powerful to constrain to 6 months. The voices and the stories about Black Joy in the UK needed a vehicle by which to live on, to have a legacy.

Directed by Tobi Onabolu, Dear Black Child is a story about the many ways we individually as Black people can develop practices to reconnect with joy. A fantasy piece expressed through movement and dance, the film explores the journey of returning to joy. The Seeker, arising from a meditation, enters the forest, using movement and breathwork to reconnect with the self, ultimately manifesting the energy of Wanderlust, to guide them through the forest.

Looking ahead

We are working on creating a documentary which shares the voices, the learnings and the impact surfaced over the life of the 6 month project. Due to be released in December 2021.

We want this movement of joy to affect our individual lives and create tangible tools for you to make joy real but also affect systemic change and be visible in policy and services designed.

Stay connected

  1. Create, send, share
    What has this sparked in you would like to share with others? joyful@rootedbydesign.co.uk
  2. Join the conversation on socials #blackjoyisours
  3. Join our mailing list and stay updated on the movement
  4. If you would like to be a contributor or collaborator please get in touch at hello@rootedbydesign.co.uk