In the midst of the movement that is “#blackgirlmagic”, there has been much conversation that allures to black women’s self-care and unleashing the societal stresses (racism and sexism to name a couple) that prevent women of color from exuding a “carefree” lifestyle. As naturally curly afros abound in the 21st century as a cultural embracing of Afrocentric beauty ideals, African-American actress Cree Summer argued in a recent interview with Fusion hat these “carefree” moments and the overall ideology of being “carefree” is fleeting and temporary for women of color. In fact, from her perspective it’s seemingly paradoxical to be called a “carefree black girl”.
Better known as the character “Freddie” from the 90’s hit television sitcom A Different World and the voice of Susie Carmichael on Rugrats, 47 year-old Summers clarified her position on the term “carefree” that is being attached to her and other women of color like Amandla Sternberg and Willow Smith that have hinted at their own levels of “wokeness”:
I don’t know a single black girl who’s carefree because it ain’t easy being a girl of color, period. God, I wish we were carefree. A lot of political things would have to dramatically change in this planet for a woman of color to be carefree. But I think what they mean by that is more of an aware black girl, a conscious black girl. The more conscious you are, maybe the less cares you have and maybe the more cares you have as well—it kind of goes hand in hand.
Self-awareness and more self-love and also the ability to care for other black women. It has something to do with being politically aware of where you stand on this planet and I think it has to do with not accepting the definition that’s been given to you by designing yourself. I’ve always been a loud mouth that way. I’ve always been proud to be different, I’ve always stood out like a sore thumb and I always have not given a damn.
With movements like “Black Lives Matter” one could argue that self-awareness and political cognizance has reached an all-time high within the black community and has even grabbed the attention of those who would not self-identify as black. However for most black women, who often carry onion-sized layers of historical sociopolitical pressures, there is an evolution of sorts emerging that speaks to Summer’s ideals of knowing more but giving less fucks (for lack of a better word). In some sense, there’s less worry around what a black woman’s hair should look like and more concern about what the racial progressive outlook will be in four years if we don’t get closer to instituting change within white America. From Summer’s point, it’s clear that the “struggle” is inherent for women of color — the question now becomes how does self-love and self-awareness intertwine in a way that is fulfilling and lasting versus short-lived and temporary? How do these lifestyle tenants work to reverse the “angry black woman” archetype that society often wants to thrust before us?
Kudos to Summers for breaking things down. Do you agree?