Alexa, play “Crown” by Chika

It’s my first Black Joy of me being 29 and twenty-fine. I thought walking into the last year of your 20s would put me into some type of headspace during my recent birthday. But with Miss Rona shutting down my birthday plans last year and family drama invading my plans the year before that, I made it my mission to absorb all love and light God blessed me with.

After my fiancé and best friends dressed up in ‘90s gear (I went for a Janet Jackson “Poetic Justice” aesthetic), we glided across the floor at Fun Time Skate Center in Fultondale, Ala. It was healing to be surrounded by not just loved ones, also generations of Black people just smiling, jiving and doing skating tricks I’m pretty sure would have busted my head open if I tried them.

That Southern Black Grammy magic

I was so distracted by the joy that I totally forgot about The Grammys, which aired the same night. Black Southern Magic showed out in many categories. Athens, Ala., gem Brittany Howard won best rock song for her jam “Stay High.” Mobile, Ala., singer and producer Rogest Carstarphen Jr, who has been making bops since middle school, snagged the award for best gospel song and performance for “Movin’ On.”

Montgomery, Ala., hip-hop star Chika, who was nominated for best new artist and dropped her “Once Upon a time” EP on March 12 (and y’all, it has some jams). Although she didn’t win, I still began this week’s Black Joy with “Crown.” The song isn’t about birthdays, but the lyrics are a whole affirmation and the jubilant vibes of the music mimic the same energy I want to carry around me throughout my life.

I’ma make it in the rain or shine

All about my money, don’t waste my time

Ain’t nobody gonna bring me down

I’m on an elevator

I’m on to something greater

Ain’t nobody gonna take my crown

Healing in the breath

Our “Black Power Heals” series keeps pushing out those little-known self-care rituals of our Southern Black freedom fighters. This week, we talked about literary goddess Alice Walker. The Pulitzer Prize winning author gave tips on how to find moments of peace through movement meditations, meaning that solitude and quiet are optional, not a requirement, in meditation.

Meditation can help get you on the path of that mindfulness lifestyle, meaning you accept the present moment without any judgement, which leads to less stress. Here are two Southern Black yogis if you want to try out some practices for yourself. I’ll be there with you in spirit.

Jessamyn Stanley: One of my favorite yoga teachers is based in Durham, N.C. Stanley shuts down the body-shamming complex that sometimes pops up in the yoga industry through her Instagram and her books, “Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear. Get On the Mat. Love Your Body” and “Yoke.” Her warm energy makes you feel like you’re at home – safe and affirmed in yourself.

Candace Saulsberry: I’ve introduced y’all to this Olive Branch, Miss. chick before, but it’s good to mention her again. While she mostly teaches yoga mostly in Memphis, she wants to open the first yoga studio in her town. You can catch Saulsberry from the comforts of home by following her Facebook group the Yoga Kickback. You’ll find plenty of videos from Saulsberry and other Black yogis. You’ll have fun as you connect with all the melanin magic in the group!

About that vaccination life

Highlights of my twenty fine year are already happening. One of them being getting the COVID-19 vaccination today!

With COVID cases falling as more people get vaccinated, some folks might be looking to starting having cookouts and family reunions again. What about you? Do you think it’s safe for your family to gather for the cookout? You can select more than one answer =]

Keep spreading your Black magic and #StopTheAsianHate (Here are some ways you can push back against the rising tide of hate crimes against Asian individuals if you want to learn more about that). See you next time!

How are you celebrating your Black Joy? Send me an email at jdunigan@reckonsouth.com and share your happiness and laughter with us! Also, take a minute to check out and join the Black Magic Project’s Facebook page where we celebrate and discuss Black culture and community.