Celebrating Your Black Identity Is Self-Care
By Tiffany Eve Lawrence
As a Black youth, celebrating your Blackness is a way to take care of yourself that has many positive effects on your mental health. It creates a strong sense of pride and connection to your racial identity, which has been shown to act as a buffer against the negative impacts of discrimination.
Don’t just think of it as something you do as a response to prejudice. Enjoy the beauty of your community that exists outside of others’ opinions. Building a sense of community around acknowledging the beauty of Black identity can improve your mental health!
Here are ways you can celebrate—big and small.
Support Black-Owned Businesses
Buying from a Black-owned business is a way to put money into your community. If you’re looking for a specific product, take a few minutes to research whether a Black business offers it.
If you prefer shopping online, companies including Amazon now give you the option to shop Black-owned businesses to support creators in the Black community.
Here are some starters:
- Black is beautiful.
- Black is royal.
- Black is intelligent.
- Black is strong.
- Black is soft.
- Black is history.
- Black is the future.
- Black is joy.
These affirmations not only celebrate your identity as a Black person, but they also strengthen your self-esteem and empower your self-image. What positive affirmations do you associate with being Black? You can repeat them to yourself as a daily acknowledgment of the talents, strength, and worth that define you.
Learn Cultural Dances
Have a fun night at home with friends and YouTube some African dances. A lot of them are featured on TikTok, too, with the original creators doing them. You may not get it to perfection, but it can be fun to try.
Visit Black Museums
There are over 100 Black historical museums in the U.S. If there’s one in your city or within driving distance, plan a trip with your family or friends. During vacations, see if there is one close to where you’ll be staying and include it as an activity one day.
Attend Local Events That Celebrate Black Culture
Many events focus on the history and creativity of the Black community.
Check museums in your area for Black art exhibits or to see when they’ll host events for Black creators to speak about their work.
Look into events like Melanin Markets, where Black vendors sell their products or foods. These gatherings often feature music and deeper parts of Black culture, including storytelling and cultural dances.
Festivals, such as Juneteenth, are a great time to go with your family.
Find Your People
Try to spend time with people who have a strong sense of pride in being Black, and enjoy the multifaceted nature of the Black community. It may be a challenge to find your people if there aren’t many Black people who live in your area. You can search social media for Black groups who share your interests that have meetups or try websites that foster community connections.
You could go together to see movies by Black creators like Jordan Peele or Ryan Coogler, attend open mics to enjoy spoken word or singing, or go to concerts by Black artists.
Find Your Black Joy
Black joy is simply existing as you are, without the constraints of fear or oppression. It’s acknowledging the right to govern yourself, your emotions, your happiness, and your well-being.
It’s also resisting the urge to look over your shoulder, and rejecting the dread that society has compelled Black people to live under. It’s enjoying every ounce of being Black and being present. This celebration of joy can be a powerful reminder of the strengths that make the Black identity unique.
Create Your Own Traditions
Take things that are important to your culture and find ways to build on the parts you can relate to. One Juneteenth tradition, for example, is to have a red hibiscus drink. It represents an old tale about how the Yoruba and Kongo tribes were lured into captivity.
People now put their own spin on the tradition by having red punch, red velvet cake, and red fruits as a modern-day tribute to the holiday. Imagine it as a cord that connects with what being Black means to you.
When you get involved with activities rooted in Black culture, you’ll start feeling more connected to your racial identity. It will raise awareness about your history and appreciation for who you are. Now you can be more confident, no matter what space you’re in.
Learn More About Black Mental Health
- How Exploring Your Black Identity Can Improve Your Mental Health
- Ways to Begin Exploring Your Racial Identity
- How to Break Free of the ‘Strong Black Woman’ Stereotype
- Using Humor As a Healthy Coping Mechanism
- How to Support Social Justice Without Hurting Your Mental Health
- The Benefits of a Therapist Who Understands Your Cultural Background
- How to Find a Culturally Competent Therapist
- How Knowing Your Identity Can Help When You’re Faced With Discrimination
- Racial Battle Fatigue: What is Racial Trauma and Its Effects on Mental Health?
- How You Can Cope With Racism and Racial Trauma
- How Black Youth Can Take Care of Their Mental Health After Racial Violence
- Getting Mental Health Support in Black Families