This is America: The defiance of Black joy
By now, most of us have heard or seen video of Memphis police officers brutally beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who later died.
In between the tragedy, you might have read stories of how Nichols loved skateboarding and photography. Those who knew him said he was joyful and loved everybody.
And that is how I choose to think of Tyre Nichols—a man full of joy.
I’m Mabinty Quarshie, a politics reporter at USA TODAY. And you're reading "This is America," a newsletter centered on race, identity and how they shape our lives.
I have no words to take away the pain of what has happened. We've been here before and, unfortunately, we'll deal with this again.
But I can offer up the wisdom of writers who have inspired me.
I think of Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts, who wrote in her book "Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration" that "Blackness is an immense and defiant joy."
I think of Toni Morrison, who repeatedly told us to love ourselves, our bodies and our hearts in the face of those who see us through their distorted vision.
I think of the untold number of Black Americans who risked everything for their freedom and changed not just the U.S., but the world.
And so this Black History Month, I'm choosing joy. Because Black joy is Black resistance. It's my salvation.
I hope you'll join me too.
Stories we're reading this week on race, identity, and justice:
Parents of Tyre Nichols, killed by Memphis police, named as State of the Union guests
Black History Heroes: A former slave who helped get Black America into the great outdoors
10 museums to visit during Black History Month that celebrate culture, history
'We're not leaving': How Wendell Smith, Sam Lacy and Black press pushed to integrate MLB during 1930s and 1940s
P.S. Check out USA TODAY's Black History Month special edition. 👇🏿
Fighting the Power: The 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the genre that saved a generation. The upbeat music that sparked a revolution in the ‘80s and ‘90s gave voice to urban youth and grew into a global multibillion business. Congress even declared November as National Hip Hop Month. Read accounts from aficionados and artists of the era how hip-hop evolved and influenced so much.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Black History Month: Black joy as Black resistance