5 Men In History Who Displayed Black Boy Joy

When Chance the Rapper arrived at the MTV video music awards last year, he was noticeably really happy: smiling, striking fun poses, and unapologetically expressing pure joy. So much so, that Root writer Danielle Young and her co-workers were inspired to reintroduce the hashtag #BlackBoyJoy. In Young's article on The Root she explains:

"I decided that the hashtag could use a resurgence and attached it to Chance the Rapper and a list of young black entertainers who all share one thing—joy. This hashtag is a celebration of black childhood and the innocence of it... Throughout history, our boys have been denied their childhood. When we learn about the stolen youth of Emmett Till, we're reminded that young black boys are seen as men by society or, worse, as a threat. #BlackBoyJoy presents a teachable moment to social media that allows us to reclaim the innocence of black boyhood."

It also shows that Black boys and men, who despite life or its challenges, still possess the jovial spirit that you can identify in carefree Black boys, that enables them to spread infectious joy and happiness through their smile, their outlook, their confidence or simply their presence. It doesn't minimize the men by saying they have Black Boy Joy. They've just managed to retain what we hope none of our boys lose as they get older - joy. Here are a few examples of Black men from history who displayed Black Boy Joy. 

Sidney Poitier displayed his Black boy joy when he became the first Black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor. 

Arthur Ashe displayed his Black boy joy when he became the first Black man to win Wimbledon. 

Activist Stokely Carmichael displayed his Black boy joy when he was listening to Dr. King deliver his speech "How Long, Not Long" at the end of the Selma to Montgomery March.


Dr. King displayed his Black boy joy when he decided to give his iconic "I Have a Dream Speech" at the March on Washington.

Barack Obama displayed his Black boy joy when he was sworn in as the first African American of the United States.  

Let's keep the celebration going! Add more names to our comment section. 

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