Thursday, June 13, 2024

Violinist Joy Black Went from Bullied to Booked and Busy | VIDEOs

Joy Black
Joy Black

Entrepreneur and violinist Joy Black recalls being teased and bullied constantly in school throughout her childhood. She had a different style and different interests than most of her peers – one being her passion for the violin. Despite never witnessing anyone who looked like her play the string instrument, when she first picked one up at the age of 13, she knew there wasn’t a bully or naysayer alive that could keep her from pursuing it as a career.

“I had a dream where I saw myself on stage performing in front of thousands of people. It felt so real, and it gave me a sense of hope and something to strive for,” said Black, 26. “I had never even seen or heard of a black woman who was a violinist, but I knew that’s what I wanted to do. The violin is the reason I made it through high school because my orchestra class was at the end of the day. No matter what I had to endure during the rest of school, I wanted to be there. That was my escape.”

Black would struggle with an eating disorder as a teenager due to the frequent abuse she took from classmates. To make matters worse, before graduating from high school, she recalls a teacher telling her that she would never make any money as a violinist, and to pursue another endeavor.

“Now I am traveling and getting booked for events across the country. That is why I tell people to never listen to doubters. Focus completely on your goals and you can do whatever you want,” she said.

To date, Black has performed at numerous high-profile and corporate events, including for the Prince and Princess of Ethiopia, Gatorade, Delta, Essence, CBS, The New England Patriots, and the 2023 Alliance of Georgia Democrats. She has also written music for the Denver Youth Orchestra and appeared in a song and music video for rapper Latto.

Joy Black - via Instagram
Joy Black – via Instagram

While she is classically trained, she prefers the electric violin, which allows her to transcend genres and play everything from classical to Hip Hop, Pop, and R&B. Her versatility, uniqueness, and ability to think outside of the box has opened up a world of opportunities for her. Still, along the way, she finds herself having to shatter stereotypes and break down barriers due to preconceived notions.

“Most people are used to seeing only white, or maybe Asian people from affluent communities playing the violin, so it is still a shock when people see me. I’m usually the first black violinist they have ever seen,” said Black, who recalls braving cold winters and catching the train or bus with her mother to make it to performances. “They don’t want it until they experience it for themselves.”

With her increased exposure, she is using her platform to inspire people to dream big, to increase awareness of the violin among young people of color, and to speak out against bullying. Black frequently speaks at schools and youth events, educating kids on how to identify their passions and stay resilient amid judgment from their peers.

“With social media and certain images that kids are exposed to these days, it is more difficult for them to embrace being themselves. They feel like they have to be a certain way, or do certain things in order to fit in,” she said. “I want to help them to overcome that pressure and embrace the idea of being their individual. That is what it takes to be great, and that is what it takes to have a fulfilling life.”

For more information on Joy Black, visit her website www.joyblackviolinist.com, or follow her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/blacksworld/?hl=en.

 

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A post shared by Joy Black 🎻 (@blacksworld)

 

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A post shared by Joy Black 🎻 (@blacksworld)

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