Doula Mode, Mamazine Moment, Uncategorized

What Black Love & Joy Mean to Me: A Doula’s Perspective

Jonnelle Ballard | February 22, 2021

What do Black love and Black joy mean to me? Black love means everything to me, as it is responsible for my very existence. Black joy means celebrating everything that means something to me – life, visions, journeys, accomplishments, trials and triumphs, as well as learning about our ever-evolving culture.

Black love is the simplest yet most complex thing in today’s world. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it is total truth. Black love to me is beautiful, pure, and best of all, enduring. When we look around at Black love today and its evolution, we oftentimes focus in on the negatives, like the dismantling of the Black family, than the numerous positives; however, Black love is still here, and it’s still thriving. That is the most important aspect to recognize, that Black love has survived the many challenges and burdens placed within our communities.

In its purest form, Black love is the ability to look in a mirror and take a true appreciation for the skin you are in. It is the acknowledgment and the honor of every hue and the spirit behind them. It is the opportunity to touch oneself and be totally comfortable and proud of every perfectly placed imperfection. It is honoring the womb and all of its miraculous works. It is the capability to walk in a room silently, yet still demand attention. It holds secrets that for years have been the envy of those around us. Black love is an energy source. It is standing in the gap for those who are unable to and showing support for those who are simply still standing. Black love is the foundation to Black joy!

Black joy is celebrating everything we are and are no longer. It is learning about loving and how to love our culture for where it has been and what it has become. It is cultivating our future based off of what we have come to understand today, knowing that our generations before us loved us enough to fight for it. That black joy comes from a place so deep, simply because at one point it was only able to be dreamed of. Black love and Black joy for me mean waking up every day and lending myself to honoring our past, even if it is in small gestures.

Black love means hugging and kissing my beautiful black and brown babies, reminding them of how truly beautiful and brilliant they are. It is planting seeds that I know I have the ability to nurture and water. It is laying the pavement that one day, our children and grandchildren will walk on, just as it was paved for us. Black love is sending messages to my fellow black men and women, encouraging their existence, letting them know that they are not alone and are very much so seen.

Black joy is an experience, gifted to us throughout generations. It is smiling even when I don’t know that everything will be okay, because in some way, somehow, that is a promise in my genetic make-up. It is applauding other black and brown people’s accomplishments, supporting, and representing our unity. It is being a voice in a room full of other voices and not be overlooked or unheard. Black joy is the rock of the hips and the sway to rhythm, honoring our curves, just the way they are.

Black love is… Black joy will always be… constant within our blood, bones, and soul.

Black love and Black joy are not borrowed concepts, but forever concepts. It’s nothing that I asked for, but something that I would choose again and again.

When it comes to Black love and Black joy, we should all “vowel” to:

Advocate.

Elaborate.

Invigorate.

Obligate.

Understand.

It is not only important to find out who you are and where you come from, but it is also necessary to live, laugh, love, and leave your mark on this legacy, so that the picture of what Black love and joy are is forever vivid.

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Daphne's Diary: Confronting Love, Legacy, & Knowledge of Self
Honoring Black History, Pre & Postpartum: A Doula's Perspective