Actress Taraji P. Henson, founder of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF), announced early September 2023, the launch of “Joy Joints!,” which she says is a national campaign to re-ignite community, connection, joy and mental wellness. BLHF is named after Henson’s late father, who struggled with untreated mental health issues after returning from the Vietnam War due to inadequate resources or support, according to the foundation’s website.
The “Joy Joints!” initiative is designed to rekindle the spirit of historic ‘juke joints’ from the early 1900s– to create spaces for people to gather and celebrate in an effort to “counteract loneliness, reignite connections, and uplift joy across the nation, BLHF says.
October 10, 2023, the foundation is spearheading a month-long celebration dedicated to its goal of collectively amassing 100,000 hours of joy, underscoring its unwavering commitment to dispelling the stigma surrounding mental health, and overall spreading joy.
BLHF is also raising essential funds to offer free mental health services to the Black community.
“We are dedicated to elevating joy in people's lives and inspiring the community to create spaces in their lives that not only celebrate joy but also foster meaningful and enduring connections,” said BLHF Executive Director Tracie Jade Jenkins. “We invite everyone to join us in this movement and be part of the change we wish to see in the world. Joy is mental health.”
The foundation says United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., MBA has “highlighted the under-appreciated public health crisis of loneliness and isolation, which has adversely affected individual and societal health.”
"Loneliness and isolation may cast a shadow, but when we come together, we ignite the light of joy that dispels the darkness, just as we have for many years in the past,” Henson said. “It's in our unity that we find the power to combat isolation and celebrate the beauty of human connection."
Additional information about BLHF and its “Joy Joints!” initiative is available at https://borislhensonfoundation.org.