Black Love Day

By Ayo Handy Kendi

February 13th is recognized as Black Love Day (BLD) in America. Founded in 1993, Black Love Day is the 3rd nationally, commemorated African-American “wholyday.”

BLD is an African-centered, alternative to the commercial Valentine’s Day with the spiritual goals of encouraging: 1) black self-love instead of self-hatred, 2) increased peace to stop violence, and 3) racial healing!

This year marks its 30th anniversary since being founded by Ayo Handy Kendi, founder/director of the African American Holiday Association. After watching Malcolm X being shot down by other black people in January 1993, “Mama Ayo” pondered on what she could do to stop the violence and engender peace. “I heard the creator say to me that we need more black love,” she recalls. Inspired, she decided to celebrate Black Love Day that February, a day she said could be celebrated by simply demonstrating love for 24 hours.

It is an observance of atonement, reconciliation, celebration and 24-hour demonstration of Black love, illustrated through 5 Tenets (or specific acts). They are as follows: love towards the Creator, for Self, for the Family, within the Black Community, and for the Black Race.


“Akoma” symbol
  • Every Feb. 13th, People of African Descent show love for 24 hours.
  • Download & print our special Black Love Day poster that you can hang in your office, dorm room or favorite reading area.
  • Demonstrate the 5 Tenets of Black Love and recommit to the Nguzo Saba, principles of love and unity for the Black Diaspora.
  • Display the “Akoma,” an Adinkra symbol of love, patience, goodwill, faithfulness & endurance.
  • Give the greeting, “Nya Akoma” (N-yah Ah-Coma) which means “get a heart, be patient!”
  • Celebrate with personal love rituals, couple love-ins or community relationship ceremonies.
  • Buy conscious love gifts from Black merchants to recycle Black dollars to love our communities.
  • Use the hashtag #BlackLoveDay & share how you’re celebrating with your community.
  • Read to learn, grow, and sustain love’s healing power.
  • Beyond Feb. 13th, practice the principles of Black Love, returning to love every day to heal ALL our relationships and better the planet!


Want more Black Love Day reads? Check out our full list here.

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