This joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me. The world didn’t give it, the world can’t take it away.Black Spiritual Song
We are celebrating Black Music Month all throughout June here at TEP. Black musicians are pioneers, shaping the American landscape and filling our lives with color and rhythm. For 40 years, Black Music Month has been an annual observance of the joy Black artists bring to the world. We honor them by spending the month listening, feeling, and responding to the wide array of Black musical artistry. And, as always, every day is a good day to support Black artists.
We are reminded that in the face of oppressive systems designed to deny life and thriving, joy can be an act of resistance. Furthermore, Scripture teaches us that somehow in joy there is strength for difficult days (Nehemiah 8:10). I even heard a preacher say recently that celebration (the practice of joy) is a discipline that those who came before us practiced from plantation fields to protest marches whenever they chose to sing, dance, and celebrate the lives they built in the face of all kinds of death around them. They declared, in their joy, that they were worthy, even as they mourned and grieved so much that was wrong. And we can do the same.
Joy is really important to us at TEP. We believe joy (together with truth and imagination) holds the power to transform lives and shift cultures. Our work to ensure that the needs of every child are met in abundance requires our full humanity, which includes joy and delight. We are intent on creating spaces for children and ourselves that are full of joy. This Black Music Month, we invite you to journey with us through various decades of Black music that have nourished and sustained us. Together we can imagine a world full of joy for all God’s children. How spectacular!