How do you find simple pleasures in hobbies and interests when the world has segregated stereotypes to certain people?
Lois Ogunnubi talks about using the leisure activities we take for granted as a symbol of rest, liberation and joy.
Why is it so important to focus on Black joy now?
L: “Even though we are fighting an endless battle, we need a recharge. I feel that experiencing and looking for Black joy always recharges me.”
“This past summer [especially] was quite traumatic for Black folks everywhere, but I would go watch a performance by a Black artist or watch a movie that celebrates Black culture. Basically finding the purpose and that there are other sides to us other than just tragedy.
“It is important to put things in perspective.”
How do you find joy now as a youth?
L: “Being around people. My energy really flies off [around] other people, so keeping people that are happy and also aware is really important to me.”
“[I’m] experiencing looking for Black joy through reading. In the past I would read like three books a week, and it is mostly [written by] Black writers like Angie Thomas… Multiple things like music, books and the Black Lives Matter Movement bring joy to me.”
Where is your happy place?
L: “It would also be around people. I love having conversations… I love discussing and seeing other people’s points of view. Just by relating with people, I’m also learning. Through reading books, I’m transfigured into that place. The way I am around people is the same with literature.”
What does Black joy mean to you?
L: “Black joy is so interesting. I was talking [with] my parents… We were watching a comedy strip from Nigeria and my dad made this comment that even though there is so much negativity in Nigeria, we still find joy out of thin air.”
“That is what I love most about Black people. We just make joy.”
“Black joy is living and thriving through adversaries. Because throughout history, that is what Black people have done.”
A piece of advice for others looking for joy?
L: “A piece of advice I would give people is [to] look for joy because it exists. It is so easy to feel like there is no hope and to go through the moment — especially last year. I really thought, ‘What’s the point of all this?’ But we need to look for it in people, look for it in pieces of work.”
“You have to go find it and surround yourself with joy. Put a lot of energy and effort in finding it. You need it to keep going — don’t feel like it is not there. It takes a lot of time, but it is definitely out there.”
“Technology is so amazing. I see a lot of Black people on my feed and I always search up Beyonce’s concerts, or see how my friends are doing. I watch Homecoming or Black is King, and it really lifts me up, so find pieces of work that inspire you.”
Lois Ogunnubi, a Grade 12 student from St. Joseph High School. She was born in Nigeria and moved to Canada at eight years old. Her social justice awareness and passion developed through her teachers’ encouragement in Grade 8.