Cowboys, Double Dutch and more from Oakland’s annual Black Joy Parade to commemorate the close of Black History Month
Black life is too often associated with trauma, suffering and disadvantage. Whether it’s enduring a lifetime of systemic racism, avoiding police violence or merely living through the environmental decay of many of our neighborhoods, it ain’t easy being Black. And yet, despite it all, we remain joyful.
Black joy is one aspect of Black life that can never be appropriated or imitated because it’s ours and ours alone. That said, it’s something that can be shared and celebrated by those within and outside the Black community. Along those lines, for the last five years, the City of Oakland, one of the Blackest cities in the West, has concluded Black History month with a parade dedicated exclusively to Black joy. This year marked a return to an in-person event after last year’s parade was held virtually, which also gave the day more cause for celebration.
Roughly 20,000 people came out to celebrate Black joy on Sunday under the full kiss of the sun — a perfect way to enjoy the culture on the last weekend of February. Below are a number of photos I captured while in attendance.