Why We Need #BlackGirlMagic & #BlackBoyJoy

Why We Need #BlackGirlMagic & #BlackBoyJoy - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.comScrolling through Facebook I stumbled upon the cutest video ever posted on the Because of Them We Can page.

I should have just moved on, but instead I read the comments. You never read the comments.

Is there a specific need to call this “Black boy joy”? I think a more appropriate title would be simply “Boy joy”. Someone from any race would be happy to see someone after being away. The person who captioned this must be trying force segregation.

Yeah, I don’t understand the difference between Black boy joy or white boy joy after not seeing a loved one for a significant amount of time.

This is awesome I agree. However are we going to label emotions by color now also ? Isn’t joy and other emotions the same in all races? Stop the labels !!!!

“Black boy joy” title was unnecessary. Creating animosity for no reason.

Actual footage of me reading the comments:
Why We Need #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackBoyJoy - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

To be fair many people backtracked after being educated about the hashtag, but a lot of people didn’t. I didn’t understand why the first extinct was to try to criticize something so positive. However, I remembered the first time I wore a my Magical Black Girl shirt and was “lectured” in Starbucks. (More on that later.)

Why We Need #BlackGirlMagic & #BlackBoyJoy

Just in case we’re not all on the same page, let’s break down these hashtags quickly.


#BlackGirlMagic is a concept and movement created to celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of black girls and women and to congratulate them on their accomplishments.


The Root writer Danielle Young has the best definition of #BlackBoyJoy I’ve seen:

It [the hashtag] 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.

Why We Need #BlackGirlMagic & #BlackBoyJoy - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com
“Never Let Go” by Ronald Draper

We We Need #BlackGirlMagic & #BlackBoyJoy

Please see above for the short answer. However, I’ll tell you about it from my perspective and if you ask Ace, her reason and story will be different.

It took me a large portion of my life to love myself just the way I was. Let me explain.  When I was younger, I was always the girl who made good grades, a nice girl, a good dancer.  Sometimes I was even pretty “for a dark skin girl”. And now that I think about it all of those other things were explained as if I were some exception:  “smart little brown girl” and “good black dancer”.  Guess what? I wasn’t the only one. I’m not the only one.

I remember explaining to someone why I choose FSU for graduate school and the look of shock on their face that I had not one, but two degrees.They even specifically said they didn’t realize black women where pursuing advanced degrees. Yup, real statement.  There are amazing black girls and women doing amazing things every day and that hashtag was a way to celebrate this fact.

When I wear my Magical Black Girl shirt I’m not saying that other women or girls aren’t magical and awesome and badass. Here’s the thing:

I can’t turn my black skin, on or off.

I just want to celebrate that despite people making assumptions about me everyday because of that black skin, I’m happy with all of my accomplishments. I’m celebrating my hair in all it’s kinky glory. I’m celebrating the melanin that made me stand out as a child and wasn’t “industry” beautiful.  Those two degrees – you better believe that I’m celebrating them.  I am still paying for them. 🙂

When I think of #BlackBoyJoy I think of a celebration of black childhood and innocence. In a society that sees young black men as a threat, this hashtag is reminder that black boyhood is beautiful and really not all that dissimilar to boyhood of any other race.   Think about a week ago when the news broke on the story of the shooting of Jordan Edwards, the 15-year-old black boy, by a police officer.  Another young life gone. However, I think about his brother who witnessed a bullet being put into his sibling, his innocence now lost.

Throughout history, black boys have been denied their childhood. Remember Emmett Till? Too often 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. I want to see more videos like the one above – a giggling, jubilant little black boy happy to see his big brother home and fewer videos talking about black boys and men as threats to society.

I realize someone will not like this post and that’s okay. Let’s talk about it. Leave me a comment below or tweet me @palmsinatl

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches