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West Dayton Stories is a community-based story-telling project centered on the people and places of Dayton’s vibrant west side. WYSO brings together community producers to tell stories reflecting its proud history, current complexities, and future hopes.

West Dayton Stories: Seeing Black Joy In The Mirror

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We’re exploring Black Joy on West Dayton Stories. This week, community producer Loveyah Stewart talks about seeing her Black Joy when looking in a mirror.

My Black Joy. It’s the way I adore my skin tone that shines bright in any light; it’s so moisturized and rich and melanated. It's the joy of my thick, 4C-type hair. It’s so soft, so nappy, so free. I celebrate my crown, even when society said, “Relax your hair,” because in its natural state, it's too strong for them to handle.

My Black Joy is pure. It's living my Blackness unapologetically, no matter the hour. It's the joy in dancing, laughing, and singing, even in the hardest times. Especially in a world that would rather see you mourn just from existing. My Black Joy capturing the moments of our people, celebrating the good with the bad, the happiness with the sad.

My Black Joy is finally recognizing the best superpower—the imagination. It allows me to create a place where there is no space or time to live out my wildest of dreams, in this world where I hold a heavy brick of oppression on my back every day. But I still rise.

My Black Joy is being myself. Loving the woman that stares back at me, enjoying life and success. My Black Joy is finding every reason to rejoice, to be happy, to love, to create, to be the best version of who I am. Me. That's my Black Joy.

West Dayton Stories is produced by Jocelyn Robinson at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices and is supported by CityWide Development Corporation.