The Joy They (And By They, I Mean White People) Can’t Steal » VSB

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The Joy They (And By They, I Mean White People) Can’t Steal



On November 4, 2008, we witnessed a collective moment of hope and inspiration in the Black community with the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.  As a moment of pride and patriotism, I don’t think there has ever been a time in the African American experience where we’ve felt as though we’d transcended our outsider status and “otherness” and reached a point of inclusion like on that day.

Our president was Black. Our Lambos were blue. And over the next eight years we learned to make-do.

Then came November 2016 and the coming of the Trump Era, a time that’s been seemingly defined by a desire to undo all that Barack Obama did no matter how big or small.

But I have another hypothesis. I feel that there’s something else in the air. Something more sinister in the actions of some who support the new administration. For them, it’s not enough to seemingly erase the legacy of the first Black President. No, not at all. For them there’s a cruel desire to punish African Americans for ever having had a Barack or a Michelle or a Black First Family at all. It’s as if they want to rob us of that joy.

But here’s what they don’t know, try as they might and try as they will to try take us back or to a place of despair, we’re gonna hold on to our joy because it’s what held us together before Barack, and it’s what’s gonna keep us going through time immemorial.

That said, here’s a few of the moments of joy they can’t take from us…

Seeing Hennessy on sale

Look, I don’t drink Hennessy, but I know a lot of Black folks that do. Black folks love Hennessy.  We sing about it.  We rap about it.  We get it tattooed on our bodies.  Some of us have even named children and pitbulls after it. It’s a staple for any Black social gathering. So, when I walk into the liquor store on a Friday night to pick up a bottle of Malbec and I see that Henny’s stocked up for $25.00, I know that someone Black is fitna have a good ass time that weekend.

It makes me happy to know so many Black people are gonna be happy, even if I’m not gonna be there with them. Henny on the table is a symbol of Black joy.

HBCU Marching Bands playing “Talkin’ Out The Side of Your Neck”

There’s literally a comparison study on YouTube for this phenomena if you have 20 minutes to kill…

When I die (hopefully a long ass time from now of a non-law enforcement related cause), I want a marching band in the street ready to strike up this tune as soon as they wheel my carcass out of the church. I’m talking full band with Mahogany In Motion (Spelhouse) or Ebony Fire (Hampton) and e’rythang.

Running a Boston

Because Teddy an’nem was talkin’ mad shit before the spades game started. Now you twelve books deep with the Big Joker in your hand and they ain’t said a mumbling word.

Go ahead, stick the card on your forehead and do a little dance.

Finding out the new Black person at work is down

So they just hired Marcus in Accounting and you’ve been seeing this cat in the breakroom and in a couple of meetings. But you haven’t had a chance to rap with him yet to see what he’s on or if, God forbid, he’s like corny ass Phil over in IT who looked at you crazy when you asked him if he heard that new Rick Ross.

Then, one day, you walk past his cube and you hear something faint. Something subtle. Something you think you’ve heard before, but you’re not quite sure if it is what you think it is. But then it hits you…

“Percocet. Molly. Percocet.”

Now you know and now Marcus gets the nod in the hall.

The opening keys to “Before I Let Go”

Out of the list of agreed upon African American traditions, the playing of Maze ft. Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go” to officially mark the lit period of a social gathering is sacred. Truly, nothing says, “here’s the bride and groom,” or “happy birthday, Momma,” or “the ribs are ready” like hearing Frankie’s smooth crooning of ‘Whoa-oooo-wah-hooooo” and that driving bassline.

Ignoring Instructions at Graduations

Fuck propriety. It’s Lil Laquinnicus’s big day to walk across that stage and get his diploma and we’ll be damned and a half if some mid-level administrator from the alternative high school is gonna stop us from cheering him individually.

No, we’re not gonna wait until all the graduates’ names are announced before we go ham.  Yes, we know it’s disruptive to the event and mildly disrespectful to the other families but who gives a damn?  For some of us, a high school diploma is a terminal degree and, even now, the furthest anyone in the family might have made it.  You goddamn right it’s time for some air horns and a stanky leg.

Watching Black people win on Chopped

Or The Price Is Right, or American Ninja Warrior, or the Scripps National Spelling Bee. If Black people are competing that’s who we want to win.

A few weeks ago, I literally yelled, “C’mon, muthafucka!” at my TV in front of my children over an episode of Chopped Junior because the young Black kid overcooked the steak.

Seeing old Black people in Obama ‘nalia

Like I said before, there are those out there that want to make it seem as if the Obama Era never happened. And to those people I present old Black folks in Obama t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and jackets as a counterpoint.

Try as they might, my momma and her friends aren’t ever gonna let go of their Black president. He’s officially on the wall next to the giant knife and fork hung ever so gracefully next to Jesus and beside the giant wicker chair. Let the old Black folk tell it we’re all somehow related to Michelle an’nem and Sasha and Malia got about a millionty-six cousins out here in this world.

But to see the people and to know that there was a time, they can’t ever take that away.

Corey Richardson

Corey Richardson is originally from Newport News, Virginia currently living in Chicago, Illinois with his wife and two daughters. Ad guy at work, Dad guy in life, and whiskey enthusiast, Corey spends his time crafting words, telling bedtime stories, and working hard at becoming the legend he is in his own mind. You can read his paternal musings at where he chronicles his life doing battle with all of the women with his last name.

  • Lucille A Bluth

    Maze and Frankie Beverly have been making modern Black Joy spirituals forever. Joy and Pain? That’s one of the like, seven Black national anthems.

    Hennything is possible.

    • browngirlgonebourbon

      Ma’am….I need to put a handle to your name for “Hennything is possible.”

      Thank you, Ms. Lucille

    • BrothasKeeper

      “Hennything is possible.”

      PLEASE put that on a t-shirt!

      • Lucille A Bluth

        I thought this was a common saying! LOL, in my part of the Midwest, that’s the Black motto.

        • BrothasKeeper

          Then why isn’t it on a t-shirt? Copyright it right now, gurl!

        • Dougie

          It’s a common theme all over. IDK where @brothaskeeper:disqus been.

  • BM, President of Fuckery

    Here’s the truth, white folks own everything but are the unhappiest and most pessimistic folks because whiteness blows.

    • mr. steal your costco samples
      • Sigma_Since 93

        How’s the Pacific Northwest treating you? Were you ever able to link up with my peeps?

        • mr. steal your costco samples

          good until I realizaed po-lice shoot pregnant ladies. nah, was never. but my new barber got an app! which is fire

    • Michelle

      In my opinion, they are going through their own version of the “Monkey’s Paw”.

      • Keisha

        Oh I like this idea

    • Furious Styles

      Don’t forget ” the most afraid” .

    • FeeFee

      That’s because of how they got it. Think about that for a minute.

    • Mochasister

      You noticed that too? Got everything in the world: access to the best natural resources, control over the world’s economies, worshiped and venerated by many of the non white races, and more privilege than many human beings around the world. And yet they are still not happy. As much as it’s kept on the downlow their suburbs are a mess. They are overdosing on opioids at an alarming rate. The rate of white women being incarcerated is rising (while the rate of Black women decreased dramatically.) and they are also abusing alcohol at higher rates. For the people who have everything they should be sitting on top of the world but they’re not.

  • Wizznilliam

    I see no lies in this post… And forget a Boston… Let me see 7+ spades in hand.. There is about to be some heck to pay. Forget about a poker face.

  • AnswerMe

    Man I wish my job would hire a Marcus in accounting…or in IT, or admin, OR ANYWHERE. I would just love to come in every day and see another Black person.

  • Cate Reed

    My son was watching the Great British Baking Show with me over the weekend- when Silasi (lone black male baker) got a rave review- my son exclaimed, “PHEW- he’s gonna make it.” It was pretty amazing. Same thing happens with Ninja Warrier, and the Biggest Loser, but his excitement for British Baking took the cake (no pun intended…)

    • UrbanNortheast

      My mother turned me on to the Great British Baking Show last season and I cannot tell you the texts we exchanged when the sister with the dry ‘fro kept messing up last season. We were so mad at her.

  • Liz

    I keep all my Obama ’08 shirts just so I can be that old lady wearing them in 2047.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      What’s up OG??

      • Liz


    • PriceIsRightHorns

      Hey Liz!

    • Liz!

    • First, welcome back! Two, I actually have a Obama campaign posted from 2008 in my daughter’s room.

      • Liz

        Thanks:) I have a poster too but IDK where it’s at :( I hope my dad still has it lol.

    • Val

      Hiya, Liz. How are you?

      • Liz

        I’m good :) Busy. But I be lurkin!

    • MsSula

      Liz of The Internets? Folks, we just might have an Ask Agatha back.

    • miss t-lee

      Oh wow!!!

    • Liz!!!

  • AKA The Sauce

    Yes….yes to all of this

  • mahoganylawlady

    So first I live Chopped and yes I yell at the the abd typically root for the black person unless they suck. Love this list.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    HBCU Marching Bands playing “Talkin’ Out The Side of Your Neck”

    I play that clip every time I play NCAA College Football cause college football ain’t college football without Neck

    Finding out the new Black person at work is down

    There’s only like 5 of us at my new job. The homie almost broke his neck when he saw me in the hall.

    Ignoring Instructions at Graduations

    My proudest moment as a Black parent was watching my son be that lone wolf and strut to get his diploma two weeks ago. You Tube captured the moment and the gif is in the works.

    • The weirdest thing about working in my line of work in the NYC Tri-State is that I’m never the only Black dude in the building, but I’m often the only Black dude who goes to do what I do. Once it hits them that Oh sh*t, he’s working with the White folks, then they start getting impressed.

      The most interesting story in that realm is this one brother who worked for the National Institute for Standards and Technology as a scientist. He said that every time he had to present for work, all the Black people in the building would crowd the back of the room. Now that’s impressive.

    • Brother Mouzone

      FAMU Marching 100..that is all.

  • Mel

    If you don’t know the words to “Before I Let Go” so you can sing at the top of your lungs when the DJ cuts the music, you are in the sunken place.

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