More than just Valentine’s Day for Black people, Black Love Day is about showing love for the Creator, self, loved ones, and community. Founded 29 years ago by Ayo Handy-Kendi, Black Love Day is a day of atonement, forgiveness, and observance of unapologetic Blackness.
Celebrated each year on February 13, Black Love Day does not require a person to be partnered. This year’s theme is “Finding Spiritual Joy Thru Black Love.”
The day is about “love in action.”
“Celebrate love holistically,” Handy-Kendi said during an interview with Minority Report host Leshelle Smith. “When you celebrate love holistically, you get a chance to transform through the power of love.”
Handy-Kendi partnered with Baltimore-based Eliza Cooper of Live Holistically Balanced and the Thriving Communities Collaborative to host a series of virtual events. During her interview with Smith, Handy-Kendi said Black Love Day came about because of the needs of the times.
There are five tenets of Black Love Day.
In a statement, Handy-Kendi said the 2022 theme was chosen to recognize the ongoing stress and challenges facing people as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Without question, the world is facing uncertain times and extreme challenges, so our 2022 theme envisions a collective focus on the first tenet of BLD -“Love for the Creator”- to inspire hope, resilience and joy to reduce fear, grief and trauma. The times require we stay prayed up to our Higher Power, so we can feel Black Joy despite the times. Stop pointing at the government but instead point up and within for self-determination. Yes, Black people have struggled disproportionately than White people due to COVID-related deaths, illnesses and economic down-turns. But we can’t afford to get COVID “burned out.” Yes, we’re overwhelmed by violence, grief, trauma, racism, but in the best of times and worst of times, when facing historical, major challenges, The Creator sustained us, and our love fostered self-help as a unified vibration of joy because love is opposite of fear. Stay connected to each other and breathe in the Creator’s love as our sustaining power to experience Spiritual Joy through our Black Love.
A storyteller and community organizer at heart, Handy-Kendi found the African American Holiday Association in 1989, an outgrowth of earlier efforts to encourage Black people to use the Christmas/Kwanzaa holiday season as a time for self-help and empowerment.
Celebrating and centering the power of Black love continues to be significant at a time when the community faces a new wave of attacks on multiple fronts. According to the association’s site, the day is also an opportunity for white people to set aside space to do their own self-work and address anti-Blackness in their actions and words.
Other holidays and traditions celebrated by Handy-Kendi include Unity in Diversity Day on May 1 and Ancestor Honor Day on May 30.
The 29th Official Black Love Day Relationship Ceremony occurs Sunday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
Watch the full interview with Leshelle Smith of “Minority Report” below:
Black Love And COVID: Couples Reflect On The Trials And Tribulations Of Pandemic Love
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