Rodney Diverlus


after the smoke settles, what will we be left with, if not joy?


A study on Black joy.

Unabashed cackling and impropriety; wild gesticulation and mischief. Freedom. Creating authentic moments of joy and surprise amongst each other in ways of honouring the freedom in our community.

In an effort not to create yet another sombre and rage-filled piece on blackness, I'm seeking an antidote to generational shame + trauma we all cary. I'm seeking an antidote to the constant fetishization of Black pain; and Black life in popular media. An antidote to yet another one shot, yet another one arrested, yet another one victimized, yet another one marginalized.

Clips of Jessie Woo, because nothing to me describes joy better than her Creole-accented impressions. “Seester....I went for a zozo appointment...”

A look at the role of #BlackTwitter as its own sociopolitical living entity; a virtual community and cultural identity that is responsible for the production of memes and cultural comedy that  saturates and dominates North American digital society.

#CarefreeBlackLives, #BlackGirlMagic, #BlackBoyJoy.  Affirming narratives that show the plurality of blackness; the fullness of blackness.

My work is based on a dissection of blackness in the now. Not enough is said on joy. Not enough is portrayed on joy; on carefree existence, on shameless glee.


We root for everyone Black.

Sonically, I am interested in capturing mayhem and discord. Complex and highly rhythmic songs that captured the spontaneity of Black joy. The soundtrack for this piece is composed of Tinoge by Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids; Atlantic Black by Makaya McCraven; Black by Buddy ft A$AP Ferg.

I was particularly interested in the fervour and rhythmic complexities present in all three of these works; They each employ polyrhtymns and percussive elements to highlight distinct moods.

I ask myself often: In the aftermath of a lifetime of resistance, post revolution, after the smoke settles, what will we be left with, if not joy?


Photo of Rodney Diverlus by Miha Matevzic