There’s a new museum that is putting Black joy on full display.
The museum’s curator, Andrea “Philly” Walls is behind the Museum of Black Joy, a new digital museum that’s dedicated to Black Happiness in Philadelphia.
“I grew up in Cobbs Creek, in Philly, in West Philly in the ’60s and ’70s. And I just had so many fond memories of playing double Dutch and tag and just running freely in our bones in the streets, in relative safety,” Walls told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
She added, “I started to realize that the space was getting smaller and smaller through gentrification. […] I just got this sense that these things that I have counted on are going to be disappearing or changing in a very profound way. So I felt like I just really needed to start documenting these things before they disappear.”
Walls began documenting Black Joy on her blog in January 2020. Her photos included Black joy found at Philly’s Bartram’s Garden, Corelove-Culture, a pilates studio, or the double-Dutch hang out Philly Girls Jump.
But now, her blog is expanding to a museum that she hopes will heal trauma within the community and to change the often negative depictions of Black people.
“It’s on our TV programs, it’s in the news, it’s in so much of social media, where we have all taken in live-action murders. With or without our consent, sometimes they just start playing,” Walls said. “I was really looking for a way to make art that doesn’t ignore any of these stories, but is not a very traumatizing visual narrative — as just kind of counterprogramming.”
You can find more information and take a look at the latest exhibits and photos by clicking here.