6 People At Afropunk Explain What Black Joy Means To Them

The most important music festival in Brooklyn was bursting with good energy.

Photographer Natalie Keysaar
August 29, 2016

This past Saturday, Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park was jumping with high frequencies for the New York's Afropunk festival. Attendees from all over the African Diaspora covered every edge of the event wearing bold garments and welcoming smiles. As I stood alone admiring the crowd, person after person walked by and said things to me like, "You're glowing" and "Don't you just love being black?"

The loving of community at Afropunk carries a strong sense of freedom, making it a unique experience for black and brown people who attend the annual event. This year, concertgoers moved freely, made friends with strangers, and allowed their bodies to let go and dance in the open space.

ADVERTISEMENT

To celebrate this infectious liberation, The FADER asked six people at the festival, "What does black joy mean to you?"

Mica Grimm, 26
6 People At Afropunk Explain What Black Joy Means To Them Natalie Keysaar

Black joy is pure unadulterated, non-respectable blackness in all its facets. Black joy is magic. It is a thing of awe and beauty and one of the strongest sources of power in the fucking world.

Briana Williams, 19
6 People At Afropunk Explain What Black Joy Means To Them Natalie Keyssar

Black joy is being able to surround yourself with your culture and your people and feel safe and at home. It's being black and beautiful without any obstructions.

Ali The Great
6 People At Afropunk Explain What Black Joy Means To Them Natalie Keyssar

Black joy is the ability to bring people together and be of love and celebration. Respecting one another, honoring one's culture and the ability to create an atmosphere where we can let our stress and our worries go.

Sarah White, 35
6 People At Afropunk Explain What Black Joy Means To Them Natalie Keyssar

It means living in a radiant way and unapologetically in your skin. Being fierce. Being happy and being free.

Suzy Jouveaux, 24
6 People At Afropunk Explain What Black Joy Means To Them Natalie Keyssar

When we're sad, black people always find ways to be happy. For example, last week, my mother told me that my cousin was sick and when she told me that he may die she was like, "Hey Suzy! You know something funny. Your cousin was about to cut a tree and the tree fell down on his face, but no problem." [Laughs] She made up a funny way to tell me the story and that's what black joy is for me. There is a sad moment but we always turn it into a good moment.

Sand Flower Dyson, 28
6 People At Afropunk Explain What Black Joy Means To Them Natalie Keysaar

Black joy means a true celebration of yourself no matter what your personal or collective circumstance is. Black joy is dancing, singing, and laughing even in the hardest times when the world is telling you to cry.

More from FADER Video
6 People At Afropunk Explain What Black Joy Means To Them