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Zendaya Believes Black Joy Is A Radical Form Of Self-Love And Self-Care
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Zendaya Believes Black Joy Is A Radical Form Of Self-Love And Self-Care

"Right now, we as Black people need to embrace joy and not let it be taken away from us."

Celebrity News

2020 has been a wild ride that put everyone across the globe in a similar situation regardless of their age, sex, or status for the first time since forever. Actress and all-around badassZendaya wants us to know, she's feelingthe feels too in her sit-down with Elleand Dune co-star Timothee Chalamet, expressing how important it is for us as members of the Black community to not let anyone or anything take away our joy. Zendaya opened up:

"It feels like a very hopeless time, specifically in this country. I know a lot of my peers feel enraged and exhausted and tired of living and growing up in a system that feels like it wasn't built for us...At this moment in time, it is hard to find joy and beauty in things, and I really think that is important. Right now, we as Black people need to embrace joy and not let it be taken away from us."

This message is a far cry from 'the endure and persevere' rhetoric that we often express to both preach as a means to adapt in the face of adversity. We must not let the darkness of the world dim our light, and that is easier said than done because whenever we turn on the news, it's one thing after another. However, Zendaya is able to counteract the discouragement and fatigue that comes naturally while navigating heavy energies by finding both joy and solace in creating and connecting to herself and others. She shared:

"I experience moments of joy when I'm able to create art and be involved in projects that I connect to deeply, whether it be 'Euphoria' or 'Malcolm & Marie', the movie I shot during quarantine with ['Euphoria' creator] Sam Levinson. Another thing that gives me joy is seeing people's responses to my work. With 'Euphoria', it's been incredibly moving to see how people connected to what Sam has written. I've heard so many beautiful stories about addiction and recovery, and that brings me hope."

Zendaya may be young, but she is ready to let the rest of us know that existential crises aren't just for those facing their turning point of their 30s or their 40s. The difficulty of finding joy and fulfillment is an obstacle one can face at any age and more than once in their lives. The times that we are living in are requiring us to reevaluate so many parts of what we think that we know about ourselves, and that's why it's even more important to prioritize hope. Zendaya explained:

"I find hope in my peers, the people who are out there on the streets doing the work—people I admire and I go to for advice and information on what's happening so that I can make sure I'm using my platform in the most strategic way I can to help...There is so much hope in young people, and when I say young people, I do mean myself—people my own age—but I also mean younger. These really young kids are so smart and have such a clear understanding and plan for how they want this world to change."

Zendaya is a powerful reminder to do more of what sets your soul on fire. Live like your soul depends on it. Decide that you are going to fight for your happiness by any means necessary. And dare to radiate undeniable Black joy.

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Featured image by Shutterstock

The Mamie 'Till' Movie Wants To Empower Us

Sitting in the theater getting ready to watch Nopefor the third time, I was excited, like a good film nerd, to see my friend's first-time reactions to the fun UFO horror-comedy. My heart sank immediately when a trailer for the film Till, which follows the life and legacy of Emmett Till's mother, Mamie, started playing first.

My knee-jerk reaction, of course, comes from years of watching film and TV that have exploited Black trauma onscreen and were created with little (if any) consideration for what could emotionally trigger the Black audience. The 1955 murder of Emmett Till is so heartbreaking and inherently violent; would this film make us live through that violence on screen?

Fortunately, no!

This week, before watching Gina Prince-Bythewood's incredible The Woman King, a featurette for Till played in place of a trailer and it soothed my fears.

"There will be no physical violence against Black people on screen," the film's award-winning director and co-writer Chinonye Chukwu says in the featurette. "I'm not interested in relishing in that kind of physical trauma. We're going to begin and end in a place of joy," she says.

Starring Danielle Deadwyler (whose heartfelt performance on HBO's Station Eleven stole the show) as Mamie, Till is a celebration of Mamie's tireless activism which sparked the civil rights movement that continues today and ultimately culminated in President Biden signing the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law just a few months ago in March 2022. "Mamie Till Mobley is a hero," says Alana Mayo, president of Orion Pictures, the production company behind the film. "I'm really, really committed to making movies not just by us, but for us," Mayo says in the featurette.

After a private screening of Till, this week, Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, tweeted that the film was "#Powerful" and "a must see."

Mamie's story of courage in the face of unspeakable tragedy deserves to be told--especially as we continue the fight for civil rights today. Knowing that the Black filmmakers behind the film are centering Black joy and aiming for our empowerment through the film makes a world of difference.

TILLis in theaters October 14.

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