Culture,  Experience,  Hotels,  Pretty City

What is Black Joy?

From electing a nitwit into the highest seat in the Oval Office to the phenomenal headline renaming a popular festival to “Beychella”, the media is taking us on a rollercoaster ride. I hardly ever watch television anymore but that doesn’t mean that the negative reports don’t make their way into my subconscious through outlets like Facebook and instagram. None of us are immune to negative infiltration of media. It’s tough to focus on the good things happening in our communities because they are often underreported.

When I was invited by the City of Oakland to attend the Black Joy Parade, I thought, “it’s about time” that we celebrate our blackness surrounded by music, food, and of course Black Joy!

The Black Joy Parade is a hyper-positive parade and festival to celebrate black experiences past, present and future as sighted on Sounds like it’s going to be lit, right!? You can thank Elisha Greenwell and her team of amazing people for this annual celebration.

Greenwell was exasperated with the idea that black people only come together during tragedy and wanted to flip the script and show our joy.

I arrived in Downtown Oakland which was laced with modern art, local historical sites and tons of people visiting just as I was. I had the pleasure of staying in the Marriott City Center Oakland which was nestled in the mix of professional and festive.

Visit Oakland
The Marriott City Center Oakland

The Marriott City Center Oakland was a short walk to the festivities of The Black Joy Parade. I casually strolled the downtown area as beautiful black people pinned the streets just in time for the parade. There were groups of young black boys riding scraper bikes, activist groups, and walking memorials for loved ones lost.

Black Joy Parade
Black Joy Parade

The Black Joy Parade drew out over 18,000 multicultural people to the downtown are to celebrate, eat and listen to live music. I found a delicious bit to eat at Uhura, a brand that prides itself on creating African Comfort Food, yum. After getting full as a tick I wiggled my way to the main stage. The musical headline was T-Pain aka The Monster! I had the opportunity to get a shout out before Mr. Teddy Penderazzdown hit the stage!

Uhura African Comfort Food

The city of Oakland is rich in black history with strong roots as the birthplace of The Black Panther Party started by Huey P. Newton. Much like any other major urban city in the US, the face of Oakland is changing thanks to gentrifications. You must ask yourself with obstacles such as the rise in the cost of housing, unethical historic redlining and a lack of resources available to the blacks community, where are we suppose to go? Creating spaces for blacks to express joy is one effective way to keep the culture alive. If we aren’t too careful we’ll find history repeating itself but when it gets to this part they’ll find joy.

Heading to the Bay Area? Check out for more details about the city.

Sign up for information on the 3rd annual Black Joy Parade and Festival in Oakland, California by visiting

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