This is a remarriage for both of us. It was difficult for me to begin to see my divorce not necessarily as a failure. Growing up — because I didn't know my father — I thought, well once I get married, I want to be married for the rest of my life. And part of that was internalizing messages about black families. That fathers  are absent and, you know, we don't stay married or we don't get married and things like that. So I think that had become part of my fantasy – that when I got married, I would stay married for the rest of my life.

Fast forward to that moment where my husband and I are planning our wedding. And as black Muslims, we wanted to incorporate not just elements of our faith into our wedding ceremony, but from our culture, as well. For me, jumping the broom and having this wonderful ceremony, bringing so many people together to celebrate our black Muslim life and our path together as a couple, it represented for me that undeniable way — that in spite of all of the challenges and difficulties in our personal lives, but also as a community, we are still very much seekers of love and joy and happiness. Perhaps that's a blessing from God to us. That we can still seek those things in spite of pain and loss and trauma.

Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer

It was electric, the energy that I felt. When we held hands and then when we jumped over, it really felt like we did it. And not just us as individuals, but thinking about all of our ancestors. And when I introduce people to me and they're trying to also understand the intersection of being black and Muslim, I explain to them that I am a proud descendant of enslaved Africans. And so for me, it's like once we were over the other side and had jumped the broom, I just felt like, I'm hoping that our ancestors are also pleased that we found each other. And that we are able to create a kind of family and community and a kind of love that we can demonstrate publicly and unapologetically.

We had to invite in the recognition and the honoring of all of those who may not have had the opportunity to love in this way. It's keeping the memory of our ancestors close, because we are living in a way that was denied to them.

michael Bryant / Staff Photographer

We hear a lot about black trauma and pain and suffering, but I feel like we cannot have that conversation if we also don't talk about love and joy and resilience. It's an incomplete, insufficient conversation if all we talk about is the pain that we've experienced. We're always surrounded by the narrative of inferiority and of deficiency and of suffering. But we also have to make space for the celebration of what is beautiful. And so I think black joy is essential to the story of how we thrive and move forward.

Share your Black Joy story: We want to hear from you. Click here for the details on how to share your story about Black Joy and read more stories from around Philadelphia.