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The Black Joy Project: Kleaver Cruz in conversation with Susana Morris

Event date: 
Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place in person at Charis and on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. This event is free, but registration is required for virtual attendance. Click here to register to attend virtually. Please read the in-person event guidelines at the bottom of this page to be sure you can participate in the event.

Charis welcomes Kleaver Cruz in conversation with Susana Morris for a celebration of The Black Joy Project. Featuring 117 full-color photos and eight breathtaking essays on a force that fuels Black life all around the globe, this is Humans of New York meets The Black Book.

Black Joy is everywhere. From the bustling streets of Lagos to hip-hop blasting through apartment windows in the Bronx. From the wide-open coastal desert of Namibia to the lush slopes of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. From the thriving tradition of Candomblé in Bahia to the innovative and trendsetting styles of Soweto, and beyond, Black Joy is present in every place that Black people exist. Now—at last—is a one-of-a-kind celebration of this truth and a life-giving testament to one of the most essential forces that fuels Black life: The Black Joy Project.

International in the scale, fist-raising in the prose, and chockfull of gorgeous works by dozens of acclaimed artists, The Black Joy Project does what no other book has ever done. In words and art, it puts joy on the same track as protest and resistance … because that is how life is actually lived. Uprisings in the street, with music as accompaniment. Heartbreaking funerals followed by second line parades. Microaggressions in the office, then coming home to a warm hug and a garden of lilacs. The list goes on.

Black Joy is always held in tension with broader systemic wounds. It is a powerful, historically important salve that allows us to keep going and reimagine new ways of being. The Black Joy Project captures these dual realities to incredible, unforgettable effect.

The brainchild of educator and activist Kleaver Cruz, The Black Joy Project is an extension of a real-world initiative of the same name. It has become a source of healing and regeneration for Black people of all backgrounds and identities. Long overdue and somehow still worth the wait, The Black Joy Project is a necessary addition for any book lover, art enthusiast, or freedom fighter. And begs the question, What does Black Joy mean to you?

A lover of words and their meanings across languages, Kleaver Cruz (they/them) was born and raised between The Bronx and Washington Heights in Uptown, NYC with their twin brother and close knit Dominican family. Kleaver is a Black queer creative, writer and educator who has presented and conducted work across the African Diaspora and continent in places like Brazil, South Africa and The Netherlands, among other countries. 

Kleaver is the creator of The Black Joy Project, a digital and real-world affirmation that Black joy is resistance. Kleaver is also a member of We Are All Dominican--A U.S.-based grassroots collective that works in solidarity with movements led by Dominicans of Haitian descent fighting for inclusion and citizenship rights in the Dominican Republic.  Kleaver believes in the power of words to write the stories that did not exist when they needed them the most. 

Susana Morris is Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has been an Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University and was most recently the Norman Freeling Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Close Kin and Distant Relatives: The Paradox of Respectability in Black Women’s Literature (UVA 2014), co-editor, with Brittney C. Cooper and Robin M. Boylorn, of The Crunk Feminist Collection (Feminist Press 2017), and co-author, with Brittney C. Cooper and Chanel Craft Tanner, of the young adult handbook, Feminist AF: The Guide to Crushing Girlhood (Norton 2021). She is the co-founder of The Crunk Feminist Collective and has written for Gawker, Long Reads, Cosmopolitan.com and Ebony.com, and has also been featured on NPR, the BBC, Essence magazine, and the New York Times. She is currently at work on a cultural biography of Octavia Butler, Positive Obsession: The Life and Times of Octavia E. Butler.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage

In-person event guidelines: 

  • All attendees must wear a face mask at all times inside the building 

  • We will begin seating people at 7:00 PM ET.

  • This event will be live-streamed via crowdcast. Click here to register to attend virtually.

  • As a reminder: If you are not feeling well, please do not come to the event.

  • If you have any questions regarding these guidelines or to request specific accessibility accommodations, please contact info@charisbooksandmore.com or call the store at 404-524-0304

If you would like to watch the virtual event with computer-generated captions, please watch in Google Chrome and enable captions. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to info@chariscircle.org. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we continue to connect across distances.

By attending our event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to info@chariscircle.org immediately.

Event address: 
A Charis Hybrid (in-person + virtual) Event
184 S. Candler Street
Decatur, GA 30030
The Black Joy Project By Kleaver Cruz Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780358588757
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - December 19th, 2023

NAACP Image Award Finalist for Outstanding Literary Work

Featuring 117 full-color photos and eight breathtaking essays on a force that fuels Black life all around the globe, this is Humans of New York meets The Black Book


Feminist AF: A Guide to Crushing Girlhood By Brittney Cooper, Chanel Craft Tanner, Susana Morris Cover Image
$16.95
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781324005056
Published: Norton Young Readers - October 5th, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2021

Hip-hop and feminism combine in this empowering guide with attitude, from best-selling author Brittney Cooper and founding members of the Crunk Feminist Collective.


The Crunk Feminist Collection By Brittney C. Cooper (Editor), Susana M. Morris (Editor), Robin M. Boylorn (Editor) Cover Image
By Brittney C. Cooper (Editor), Susana M. Morris (Editor), Robin M. Boylorn (Editor)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781558619432
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Feminist Press - January 10th, 2017

Essays on hip-hop feminism featuring relevant, real conversations about how race and gender politics intersect with pop culture and current events.


Close Kin and Distant Relatives: The Paradox of Respectability in Black Women's Literature By Susana M. Morris Cover Image
$33.00
ISBN: 9780813935508
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Virginia Press - February 4th, 2014

The "black family" in the United States and the Caribbean often holds contradictory and competing meanings in public discourse: on the one hand, it is a site of love, strength, and support; on the other hand, it is a site of pathology, brokenness, and dysfunction that has frequently called forth an emphasis on conventional respectability if stability and social approval are to be achieved.


Event Summary: 
Featuring 117 full-color photos and eight breathtaking essays on a force that fuels Black life all around the globe, this is Humans of New York meets The Black Book.