Black Joy Archive

Black Joy Archive ii
 by Zoë Pulley 

It began in May of 2020 in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor & Ahmaud Arbery. Amidst a worldwide pandemic, Black individuals were forced to cope, reckon and process trauma inflicted time-and-time again by the racial epidemic this country has battled and protected for centuries.

We were so happy to once again work with Zoë Pulley on printing Volume II of the Black Joy Archive.

The archive was created to be a safe space for black folks — with the intention that this space can serve individuals as an ongoing practice in self-preservation and self-esteem.

Since this project’s initial release there has been a cultural shift — with questionable moves of allyship being presented by corporate entities, capitalistic industries utilizing taglines such as “Black Joy” for commercial profit and the overall anti-racial fervor that ignited non-BIPOC individuals that summer of 2020 now debatably apathetic.

Volume ii of this project asks you to consider this — how can we continue to persevere? To push against the noise, the trends and expectations in order to uplift our own narratives?


We interview Zoë to learn more about the process of making the second volume.
SRC: How did your experience around the creation of the first volume of Black Joy Archive influence the making of the second volume?

ZP: The first volume was very much an urgent, reactionary move in relation to the social climate of 2020. Prior to that publication I did not have experience in making an object that felt and looked like an actual book — having previously worked primarily on d.i.y zines and such. With that, there was a huge learning curve and I’m grateful that I was able to go into making volume ii with a new sense of order, needs and communication with contributors.

SRC: What has the reception of the publications of Black Joy Archive been like?

ZP: It’s been sweet! I’m always super humbled by the feedback and support of this project. The project officially launched in June of this year with an event hosted entirely by the Ace Hotel Brooklyn. It was awesome to have an evening surrounded by good people who all wanted to celebrate, be joyful and enjoy the company of Black creatives and makers.

SRC: Since publishing the first volume, how do you feel the cultural and geopolitical shift influenced the framing of the second volume?

ZP: The second volume of this project was framed around this key question. “What does your Black joy look like to you now?” Honestly, I was dragging my feet on starting the second volume as I was having a hard time finding a place for a project to live since volume one was so very much a reaction to the moment we were living in. I was looking for a reason for Black joy to exist instead of noticing the inherently radical nature of just letting be. With that, volume two had to reckon with the realities of our contemporary post 2022 — the good and the dizzying. Where volume one is an opposing timestamp of an uneasy moment in time, volume two is hopefully a reminder that our joy still exists and will proceed to do so no matter the circumstance.

Thank you Zoë! You can purchase a copy of Volume II of the Black Joy Archive here!

Images courtesy of Nik Muka