Black History Month is right around the corner, but I want to emphasize joy in the present and the future of Black communities this year. I’m already inundated by the amount of media and events that are promoting documentation, archives, performances, and retellings of Black pain—slavery, disenfranchisement, displacement, violence, you name it. For 28 days (and the weeks prior if you work in media), we’ll be swimming in it, and I don’t know if the tide is changing enough to dispel the sour taste that lingers at the back of my throat every year in February. With Martin Luther King, Jr Day and Black History Month to begin the year every year, it’s actually invigorating in its own right—the year starts off with a big ol’ dose of mahogany. It’s inspirational, really. But when institutions get involved, that big ol’ dose gets tainted.
I don’t know what the solutions are, but I’m committed to exploring Black joy in the coming weeks. I’ve seen enough of the pain, and I carry enough of it on my own. I’m going to be thinking about this as the month rolls along, and I hope it’s reflected in our coverage and conversations.
In the meantime, check out Kimberly Haas's amazing profile on Rachel Pastan and her new book, and see how my weekly roundup serendipitously turned into a meditation on the present and the future through pairs.
Stay joyful, Philly! Now, if you’ll excuse me, there's a new episode of Abbott Elementary that I haven’t watched yet.