Celebrating Juneteenth: Amanzi Arnett

In celebration of Juneteenth, We Are Memphis is focusing on sharing stories from our Black community. While the holiday commemorates freedom, for so many Black Memphians (and Black communities across the country), it’s about so much more! With the many stories and perspectives to share, we’ve sat down with the city’s favorite creatives, influencers, civic leaders, and more to highlight their stories of freedom of expression, joy, and living unapologetically. 

Want to get in on the conversation? Share your story with us! Use #bringyoursoul and #wearememphis. We’ll be reposting stories throughout the month! 

Amanzi Arnett, Tone Partnership Coordinator

When you think of the phrase “Black joy,” what does that mean to you? How do you look for moments of joy in your daily life?

Black joy means finding laughter in any situation, fighting the pressure to always be resisting or protesting, and making other Black people smile. I look for moments of joy in the quiet moments in life.

Thinking about the community around you, how do they give you joy or help you pursue your own?

 My community brings me joy through shared laughter and by everyone striving to be better versions of ourselves. They help me pursue my own joy by reminding me of the best parts of me.  

Think about the thing, people, or Memphis-related place that brings you the most joy or allows you to be who you are.

When I think of Memphis joy, I think of summers in the Mound. Fourth of July family functions on Beverly Street. I also think of the river and all the stories it holds.

How does Memphis (think the city, the community, the places here that you find the most peace) allow you to express yourself?

Memphis shows up in my way of expression by keeping me grounded and reminding me where and who I come from.

For the younger Black generations, what is your greatest piece of advice for living unapologetically or pursuing passions or joy?

A piece of advice I would give in regards to pursuing passions or joy is to make sure you figure out what that means for yourself. It can be easy to compare yourself to others, but real joy is knowing who you are, being firm in that, and finding people like you who support the truest version of you. 

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