There is much going on in the world today. I realize that statement can be made at any time, under any set of circumstances and ring true. But for me, and the countless others who share similar hues, melanin, ideals, fears, dreams, journeys and so forth; it’s more than mere hyperbole.
I’ve spent the entire summer in a constant state of disbelief, rage and angst. If I were being truly honest it’s been longer than that, but it’s really struck a personal cord recently. Incidents that might not otherwise reach my purview are constantly on deck, thanks to social media and an incessant need to be aware.
Of course existing in this way can and will surely wreak havoc on ones mental wellness. It can also make it hard to maintain a space titled “The Happy Black Girl”. As luck (or life) would have it, Starr and I spoke at length about how to handle the likely-hood of this happening long before we even decided to create a site. We knew that whatever we involved ourselves in had to be both informative & entertaining and most importantly it would act as a safe haven of sorts.
But just look around you, our safe haven feels like a ghost town. No weekly reminders that you are brilliant, no tiny bursts of light to fill your mornings with hope. You might not notice (or maybe you do) but we see it and we know we gotta do better. Being stifled by life is hardly an option, even when it feels like we as a people are constantly under attack. Be it for driving while black, eating skittles while black or more recently laughing while black. In the lasting words of Claude Brown, “Where does one run when he’s already in the Promised Land?” Say Amen.
The good news is, we’re not completely without options. We continually try and satiate our Facebook readers with daily reminders, music, stories and moments that might help uplift the spirit. In other words we do a little sumthin when we can, because we know we’re supposed to, even when the spirit is less than happy. Say Amen.
Like many of you, we’ve both worked and lived in environments where we were often absent. As such we know all too well how that isolation can be even more demanding and difficult when you have no viable access to your tribe. We find this most evident while drowning in the many feeds and timelines.
So then, what can we do around these parts to try and make it better for y’all? Well, for starters when you’re browsing Facebook or Tumblr or even Instagram and all your feed offers is an never ending supply of messages with images of horrible people, we know it’s exhausting. So when we share similar information, we try and give you the best, most responsible article on the subject with one additional caveat, we simply change the photo associated with the piece.
If your timeline is giving you think pieces that continually provide an angry image to go along with it, rest assured you won’t see that with us, we’ll give you less toxic imagery to accompany the information. The same goes for current political candidates. If we decide to share what Jeb and Trump are dispensing please be sure that we will do our best not to add visuals that give either of these folks more media attention. It’s counterproductive to reside in a space called The Happy Black Girl and have y’all be subjected to the proliferation of ignorance that gets touted as social media. What in the world is social about that?
This is our house, and we will find ways to inform you that do not include another assault on your vision. That’s the antithesis of why we are here. We are here to help you curate a personal lifestyle that includes positive reinforcements and reminders, not a barrage of hate.
As for actual content, that’s another beast entirely. We haven’t been as keen on how to wade through the weeds and provide you with the relevant timely responses you so richly deserve. But in our defense I might add that it’s more out of fear than it is frustration. What can we possibly share that would allow your souls to mend when yet another black woman, child, man goes missing, killed or maligned? It’s heavy, factual and challenging.
Perhaps the best way to deal with this in the meantime is simply by pressing on, learning, listening and loving in the same ways that we have in the past. Maybe it’s the complete opposite of that idea, I don’t know, but I do know that whatever happens we are all in this together, and until you are free to be your beautiful, bona fide, hbg selves… then neither or we, so we’ll keep pressing on, even in turmoil. Y’all stay with us. Say Amen!
Devoya Mayo is Co-Creator of The Happy Black Girl
Get To Know An HBG is her favorite column to write.
You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org