The beauty of BlackJoyTok

The Black lived experience is not all about misfortune. And, although it’s important to witness, so is Black joy: welcome to BlackJoyTok.

The beauty of BlackJoyTok

Social media festers with Black tragedy, constantly showing Black crime and murder. It’s an ooze of important social injustices to show but still hurtful to see. For many Black people, this isn’t a show, but a lived reality. 

So, finding yourself on a side of the internet that diverges from tragedy and becomes home to Black beauty is something we all need a lot more of. If you scroll through the hashtag #blackjoy or #blackjoytok, you will find many creators that show the Black experience as one of diversity, influence and art. 

Book recommendations, movie hypes and dance trends infuse this hashtag and create the most enjoyable experience for people to learn about Black culture or to simply entertain themselves. So, here are a few of my favourite extensions of the hashtag #BlackJoy that I’ve been loving.

#BlackBookTok

As an avid book reader and a reading enthusiast, I’m always searching for new books to read. However, I’ve always struggled with finding books with Black characters as the centre point without having them go through some massive turmoil over race. Two years ago, when I came across Queenie, written by Candice Carty-Williams, it felt like a breath of fresh air. Although the main protagonist faces racism, the book has a sense of humour and divulges what it means to be a woman and the problem of gentrification, among many other topics. 

Finding Black Book Tok has led me to a world of new books centring Black characters in all different genres. So far, I’ve been blessed with finding: A Song Below Water written by Bethany C. Morrow, Rosewater by Tade Thompson, and You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. All have Black protagonists and are definitely worth the read

#BlackFilmTok

We’ve all seen The Help, a film with its humorous moments overshadowed by the deep and dark message it represents. Many Hollywood films with predominantly Black cast members usually share a common theme of racism, slavery and violence. How is that supposed to make us feel when we don’t see ourselves in anything other than movies about racism?

From the recommendations on TikTok, we can see Black love, Black community and Black spirit, with protagonists having adversaries that aren’t just white people. While finding some of the best films you’ll watch starring Black actors, under the hashtag #blackfilm, you will also find a celebration of some of the best Black directors in Hollywood. 

#BlackLove

This hashtag gives us more than just recommendations; it gives us all the feels. Something we need to get more used to seeing is #blacklove. Our timelines are filled with the hard truth of absent fatherhood within the Black community, so it’s heartwarming to be reminded of all the Black kings fighting against this stereotype. All amongst the hashtag #blacklove, we can find Black couples not only transpiring but thriving. 

#BlackMusic

Finding music on TikTok has breathed life into all of my playlists. It’s no secret that TikTok can be that ‘big break’ for musicians - that is no exception within Black music. Need I mention how Doja Cat rose to fame from her TikTok videos and viral ‘Bitch I’m A Cow’ song? Just this summer, a young creator named @chenayder created a song that touched everyone’s hearts and had people in awe by the musical talent, which boasted incredible sample usage, ghostly harmonies and a melody that tapped into the soul of Black music. This song is called ‘Fall’ and is now available on Spotify. What started with a young girl sampling and creating music in her bedroom became a song beloved by all and now has over 3 million listens on Spotify. 

Last but not least, #BlackJoy itself

Within this, I have seen a different dance for every occasion, children feeling the representation they deserve, and so many individuals embracing all the mix of cultures that can unify under one hashtag. It is said that Black joy is a form of resistance, and what better way to be a part of that resistance than on a platform everyone has come to love?
 Not only is this a place of joy, but an embrace of culture and a place of freedom for the Black community. There are so many positives to being Black. There are many positives to being any person of colour and so much beauty in it. It’s great to have all that beauty in one place finally.

Header Image Credit: Glodi Miessi

Author

Sarah Culyer

Sarah Culyer Contributor

I am a current Journalism student at the University of Roehampton with the ambition to tell unique stories. My world currently revolves around reading and writing. I read and write for university, I read and write in my spare time and I spend a lot of time thinking about what I'll read and write next!

I'm excited to be part of a magazine that aligns with my core values and gives a voice to those that don't usually have one.

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