The Black Joy Parade and festival made a celebratory return to the streets of downtown Oakland on Sunday, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

People of all ages waved red, black, and green flags representing Pan-African solidarity. Classic cars, ornately decorated floats, dance troupes, Black cowboys on horseback, and costumed revelers paraded down Broadway. Dancers swayed to the sound of live bands performing on the main stage. Others simply mingled in the sunshine while browsing and enjoying the offerings from dozens of vendors selling food, drinks, fashion, and other locally produced goods.

The Oaklandside’s visual journalist Amir Aziz was there too, and he captured some of the day’s positivity on camera.

After enjoying the parade, attendees spilled into the main festival and celebration area at the intersection of 20th Street & Broadway. Credit: Amir Aziz

A festival-goer riding in the back of a pickup truck waves a red, black, and green flag symbolizing Pan-Africanism. Credit: Amir Aziz

Classic cars lined Broadway near the festival site. Credit: Amir Aziz

Three Black Joy Parade festival-goers enjoying the unusually sunny and warm February weather in downtown Oakland. Credit: Amir Aziz

McClymonds High School’s football and cheer teams participated in the parade with drills and music. Credit: Amir Aziz
The McClymonds High School football team paraded in their orange and black unis. Credit: Amir Aziz

Vendors decked out their stations with items for sale celebrating afro-centric and other cultural themes. Credit: Amir Aziz

Viva and Moses Omolade enjoying the Black Joy Parade. Credit: Amir Aziz

Members of the Diaspora Dance group blended dancing with rollerskating on Broadway. Credit: Amir Aziz

Afro-Play, an Afrocentric family playgroup based in Oakland, participated in the parade down Broadway. Credit: Amir Aziz
AfroComicCon, an annual Black-led comic book convention, had a contingent of members arrive in their costume of choice. Credit: Amir Aziz

Judges watch and take notes for the “Best in Flow” competition for the day’s best floats, costumes, and performances. Credit: Amir Aziz

Red, black, and green—representing Pan-African unity—were the dominant colors at the 2022 Black Joy Parade. Credit: Amir Aziz
The local community development organization Black Cultural Zone hosted an enclosed skating rink inside the festival area and even had skates available for members of the public to borrow. Credit: Amir Aziz

Amir Aziz is a photographer and videographer from Oakland, California. Using photography as his primary medium, Amir documents life and times in his community and the rapid changes in his environment. He's covered music events and social justice movements in the U.S. and abroad for local and international publications. Before shelter-in-place, he traveled to over 10 countries producing multimedia projects juxtaposing the experiences of locals elsewhere to those in his hometown of Oakland. Amir hopes to continue to bridge the gap between African diaspora communities and oppressed groups in the world through multimedia storytelling.