Black Boy Joy

Adam Lawrence Dyer
2 min readOct 21, 2021
Me in 1967…
Me in 1967…

Black Boy Joy

For all the black boys
who won’t look in mirrors,
for fear of what they might see…

For every prince called “thug”,
For every guy on the hustle
who is only just trying to stay alive,
For every Mandingo, BBC, Anaconda
whose greatest gift was between his ears and behind his eyes
and not in his trousers…

For every Emmett Till.

For every first, one, or only
who wasn’t “ really black…”
(until he was seen as a threat…)

For every Obama, Baldwin, Douglass, DuBois, Ali, Powell, Thurman, Rustin
…and for every one I won’t name because they’ve done real harm.

For every son of Africa
who carried the burden and the blessing
of definitive blackness into this dazzling blue green world
that is too often twisted out of focus
by race, sex, class
in the careless, clumsy hands
of blinding colonizing whiteness…

For every black boy that ever was
or will be,
I say, thank you.
You made me,
I make you,
We create us,
We survived,
And we thrive.

We are accountable and beholden to all we are
and all we can be.
Thank you for the gravitas that keeps me planted
and the laws of gravity that let me fly.
Thank you…for this and so much more.

Thank you,
because only you can know what it means to be
“black boy joy.”


Originally published at on October 21, 2021.