Meaningful Living in the Hashtag Age

Posts tagged ‘Black writers’

What is Black Joy?

Written by Michelle D. Jackson

Michelle Jackson, founder of the Black Writers Workspace (BWW), and poets Leonora Martelly and Cameron Sykes share what Black Joy means to them.

For those who may not understand why I love the phrase ‘Black Joy,’ it is essential to remember that the harrowing realities of slavery, poverty, discrimination, lynchings, and police brutality have stained the Black experience in America. To reverse the impact and to maintain our crown, I find joy, peace, acceptance, and laughter in moments shaded by cultural acts of pride. Simple pride. Fierce pride. It doesn’t matter because I know that where Black joy exists, pain diminishes, and authenticity thrives.

Black joy is happiness. It is when you walk into your grandma’s house, smell the warm buttery flavor of a sweet potato casserole browning in the oven, unbutton your jeans and get ready to eat all day long.

Black joy is empowering. It is a spades game where slamming cards on the table rattles from every corner of the room, and boastful pride permeates the air you breathe.

Black joy is acceptance. It is sharing your truth with your tribe, crying tears of reflection, and screaming in the face of inequality with no judgment.

Black joy is unity. It is never knowing your homeboy’s real name because calling him by his nickname is how you honor the strength of your bond.

Black joy is winning. It is a celebration for being ‘the first’ yet refusing to settle with one accomplishment because Black excellence is a way of life, not an isolated incident.

Black joy is honoring what makes our blackness pure magic.

In celebration of Black joy, the Black Writers Workspace, an online community of writers and avid readers, featured poets sharing original work about the black experience. Poet, author, and community activists Leonora Martelly’s work Black Girl Joy illustrates her love of blackness, authenticity, and sisterhood. Click to listen:

IG: @whois.leonora

Poet Cameron Sykes’s poem, Black Boy Joy, serenades Black men with an inspirational song about joy, pain, faith, and brotherhood. Click to hear him recite his work:

IG: @storiesbyprophet

Honoring Black joy is not about dishonoring the joy of any other race. Instead, it is our way of celebrating what makes us unique and extraordinary. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to follow the Black Writers Workspace.

To connect with Michelle D. Jackson IG: @jackson.Michelle, FB: authormichelledjackson or email

11 Things We’ve Learned as Black Writers

Eight writers from the Black Writers Workspace share what they’ve learned on their journey to publishing

A writer’s job is to challenge a reader’s imagination and draw them into a new and exciting world that inspires, entertains, engages, and informs. Writers are visionaries, adventurers, and innovators who dedicate their craft to composing unique and exciting experiences on paper.

As writers of color, our mission is heightened. We are not only responsible for engaging readers with dynamic stories and real-world lessons, but we are also responsible for honoring our heritage by weaving cultural experiences into the fabric of our work.

Reaching deep within my treasure chest of experiences after years of owning a public relations firm, authoring three books, and building digital media content for various platforms, I’ve discovered several vital lessons about the power of writing while Black. These lessons may be familiar to some, but for me, they are entrenched in my core beliefs and are essential to help build and sustain diverse writers who struggle to find their path in the publishing industry.

Below are 11 lessons written by seven fellow writers from the Black Writers Workspace and me. This list includes motivational, inspirational, and instructional lessons learned and concepts for writers, readers, and publishers:

Lessons Learned

· Black writers have a gift that empowers the world with beautiful stories entrenched in the Black experience. The Black experience is the American experience. Race does not determine patriotism. This country was built on the creativity and innovation of immigrants; without us, there is no American story. (Michelle D. Jackson)

· Black writers are changemakers. Activism starts with the written word, which evolves into the spoken word and is then translated into action. Movements are built when writers become the voice of the people. (Michelle D. Jackson)

· Storytelling is a talent that starts in the writer’s imagination and ends in the reader’s consciousness. A good writer keeps the reader in mind. Readers are smart. They know by how much time and detail we invest in our work to whether we are writing for ourselves or them. Work written for ourselves is driven by passion. Work written for the reader is driven by passion and professionalism. (Michelle D. Jackson)

· Black writers need community. The writing process can be lonely. Community is important for many reasons, including mental health and morale, but more importantly, we all need a network of support, resources, and connections to be successful. (Tee Price)

· Black writers must be committed to fixing each other’s crown when needed. We must learn to encourage each other when we’re wavering and share information and connections so we all can win. (Tee Price)

· The Black voice is worthy of being heard; there is power and healing in the pen. Writing is therapeutic. It is medicine for the soul. (Tunisia Nelson).

· Black writers should never let detractors steal their voice. There is always an audience for what Black writers want to share because every life experience matters. (Micki Berthelot Morency)

· It is a myth that Black people don’t like to read. We enjoy stories to which we can relate. (David Muse)

· Black writers must know they are enough! Accept that some people aren’t going to like what you write, but never work to be like other writers. (Renea Linsom)

· Black writers no longer have to wait or ask permission from publishing companies to recognize them as authors. The ability to self-publish empowers all writers to share their stories with the world. (Tanell Allen)

· Black writers should never give up. However, they must be smart when deciding who to trust and share their work with. (Gregorystone Vojislav)

There is so much to learn and share. This is just the start.

By Author Michelle D. Jackson

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