Why we need to celebrate Black Joy | Valerie June | TEDxNashvilleSalon
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Valerie June is an artist, a storyteller, and a woman of color. She knows systemic racism exists – she has seen and felt it in her own life. She also knows that it’s important to expose violence and correct injustice, in part by telling those kinds of stories. But if those are the only stories being told – in the news and in movies and TV shows – they start to define what it means to be African American, erasing hard-won victories and ultimately the promise of a better world. Valerie believes it’s time to claim that better world – not one day in the future but right now – and that we can start by rewriting the narrative. In place of loss, write resilience; in place of injustice, write power; in place of sorrow, write joy. She asks of White America: “I see you are willing to tell the story of our suffering, but are you ready to celebrate Black Joy?” And she presents this challenge to Black America: “Take a hold of that joy – it is your superpower.” Valerie believes that a celebration of diversity through choosing a path of radical joy and positive activism is a way to rewrite the narrative of our traumas. It is a way to unite humanity and sculpt a more egalitarian society.
Tennessee-born and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Valerie June has been recording and performing since she was 19 years old, climbing from Memphis coffee houses to national TV performances and getting name-checked by Bob Dylan. Her latest album The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers (Fantasy Records / Concord) weaves a tapestry of folk, soul, gospel, country, blues, psychedelia, and symphonic pop, performed by an accomplished lineup of musicians with a dizzying palette of instruments (flute and banjo, mbira and Mellotron, saxophone and synth) absorbed in free-flowing experimentation. The album (co-produced with Jack Splash), is acclaimed by fans and critics alike and received 2021 Americana Honors and Awards nominations for both Album Of The Year and Song of the Year. June’s first book, Maps for the Modern World, is a collection of poems and original illustrations, available now through Andrews McMeel Universal Publishing. info This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx