February 2018, I got my bestie to fly with me to Oakland for their first annual Black Joy Parade. Little did I know, but this was also a first for me. This was the first teetrip that involved somebody besides myself! Before this, I just documented my solo and random travel. This was the first time I intentionally chose an event, invited someone else, and posted it to teetrips' IG. (This was also my first time witnessing what happens when airport security takes your lonely bag. Ha. Another blog, another day lol.)
*mentally insert video where I almost broke my neck hyphy on the chair*
We stayed downtown, just two blocks or so from the parade route’s starting point. Now, we were actually late to the parade, but that was okay because we got the point lol. We saw young drill teams, men on souped-up bikes doing tricks, a grandpa getting BUSY on the sideline, and more. You know what I didn’t see? A HATER!
When I tell you this was and still is the most positive experience of my travels, I TELL YOU THE TRUTH. I’m a Black girl from South LA, where the girlies mad dog each other. I’m disgustingly accustomed to receiving negative energy from females for no reason - to old people passing loud judgments on what us youngsters are doing and violence ruining good times. WELL, NOT HERE. Who would guess I’d feel so comfortable and peaceful in Oakland? I mean, I got emotional!
Not only was it the peace that had me ready for Kleenex, it was the love for others. Being at the Black Joy parade and seeing other races celebrating us was heartwarming. A full band of Asian drummers and dancers gave me the feels. This wasn’t the only diversity here, either. Another thing I love is that this is truly an all-welcomed event: all ages and races. The only qualifiers seemed to be finding joy in Black culture and respecting others.
I encourage everyone who loves Black culture to come get some Joy at the end of each February! Same time and place every year. Watch the parade. Listen to poetry at the festival. Chill in the Hennessy lounge. Sweat double-dutching. Throw some bones on the tabletops. Take the kids to the jumpers and games. Jam at the nighttime concerts. Do yourself the favor.