Ready to jive, y’all?

I’ve known from a very young age that music is a powerful tool. It’s not only a medium where we can talk about our own triumphs, traumas and hoe tales (lol). Music is an energy magician that can lift entire moods.

OutKast members André “3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton are one of those Southern hip-hop duos that have some incredible nostalgic powers over me. Whenever I hear “Hey Ya!” and “Roses,” I’m back in the early 2000s just vibing with my girls in the middle school gym.

But no wonder my Bama soul connected so much to the Georgia-based rappers. André said it best when OutKast won Best New Rap Group during the 1995 Source Awards, “The South got something to say. And that’s all I got to say.”

During the first episode of the fourth season of our Reckon Interview podcast, which dropped on Monday, we chatted with Dr. Regina N. Bradley who recently published her book “Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip Hop South.” And y’all, it’s the focus on Southern rap for me because usually when I hear of hip hop history, I’m thrown to the West or East coast.

Now, I’m not going to give all of it away, but Bradley does an amazing job breaking down how Southern hip hop revolutionized the stories of our region through sound (by mixing blues, soul and funk) and through its unapologetic approach on interpreting the different narratives within Southern history, such as the Confederacy to the Civil Rights Movement.

You can check out this episode on AppleSpotifyStitcher or wherever you satisfy you podcast itch. But for now, you can chill to our own mix of Southern hip hop bops as you read the rest of this week’s Black Joy.

“Black Power Heals”: Creating your own sanctuary

If you could go anywhere in the world to find your peace, where would you go?

“Black Power Heals” is still in full swing, y’all. The series, which focuses on the self-care rituals of our Southern Black freedom fighters, focused on DeJuana Thompson, founder of the social justice nonprofit Woke Vote, this week.

Thompson found herself on the front lines a lot during the political and racial unrest of 2020. She helped Birmingham’s homeless neighbors get their stimmys and crisscrossed the nation during a voter engagement tour WHILE helping out local activists during the protests.

It’s safe to say that #NoJusticeNoPeace became #NoJusticeNoSleep for Thompson. After the stress and lack of rest took a physical and spiritual toll on her, Thompson found peace in her passport by taking mini-sabbaticals. An avid traveler, Thompson has made trips to Alaska, South Africa, Cuba, Ghana (you name it) over the years. This year she is taking “mini-sabbaticals.” So far, she has traveled to places like Jordan and Morocco.

Now, I hear you. With the Coronavirus still hanging around and other responsibilities getting in the way, traveling can be hard to do. So Thompson is coming up with a program on how to create a sanctuary within your own space. While she didn’t want to give away all her secrets, she didn’t mind giving us one of her life hacks called “sanctuary sheets.”

Step one: Get you some good-quality sheets (1,000 thread count or higher). Only pull them out when you need a mental escape.

Step two: Throw them threads in the dryer to get them nice and warm. (Adding my own little tidbit here for the folks without dryers. You can also buy yourself a heating pad OR ice pack. Go with whatever temp satisfies your soul.)

Step three: Spray your sheets with some aromatherapy linen spray. Then lay out and relax.

Ok, now Grandma Wimberly with the HATS!

Y’all know I like to keep things southern up in here, but I have to take it to the Midwest real quick to talk about dedicated church-goer, Dr. Laverne Wimberly. She’s been attending virtual church services since last March and hasn’t missed a beat when it comes down to her attendance – and her fashion sense.

Now, let’s keep it real. For a lot of us, our professional wear has been collecting dust since working from home became the norm. We went from slacks and blouses to sweats and T-shirts all day. Every day. And that’s A-OK because we are out here just doing our best.

But Wimberly said, “Nah, baby.”

Her outfits during these Zoom calls give me so much life. I’m talking the big, frilly hats, color coordination on point, big jewelry. She even comes through with the matching face shield and masks. Bedazzled of course. Easter Sunday is every Sunday for Dr. Wimberly, baby.

Honestly, her Sunday best gives off big Southern Baptist vibes. She even keeps a journal of her outfits so she doesn’t wear the same thing twice and post encouraging messages on her Facebook page along with her photos.

“I wanted not only to keep myself motivated, but I wanted to help keep others motivated as well, to inspire them, encourage them, and kind of eradicate some types and forms of depression, isolation, fear and despair,’ she told the Daily Mail.

Inspire yourself by spreading your own Black magic. See y’all 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.