Faux Locs or Curly Afro?….Check
Flowy Dresses?….A Few
Endless Flower Snapchat Filter Selfies?…Ummm
Ready to be a Carefree Black Girl? Maybe. I’ve always been the weird one out of my group of friends. Growing up lower class as an only child on my moms side gave me pretty streamlined influences. I quickly found that you quickly get the “lame” title when your favorite movie is The Matrix and your mother refuses to spend $200 on Jordans. I even more rapidly learned to conform where I could. I listened to the right music (Remember Waka Flocka and 2000’s Lil Wayne?) and said the right things to make me seem way more hood than I really was (If you were wondering I lived on Beatties Ford in Charlotte, NC). Eventually I kind of lost the line where my quirkiness ended and my new persona started…and this pretty much carried me into college. When I got comfortable enough at UNC Chapel Hill, I allowed bits of my weird personality to combine with my social upbringing, which somehow still made me feel like an outcast.
Then all of a sudden a new hashtag started up- Carefree Black Girl. As many of you know, in response to the media’s reinforced and repetitive images of black women (mammy, career driven b****, seductress, masculine dummy, or any combo of the aforementioned) the Carefree Black Girl was supposed to positively showcase girls who broke away from these stereotypes and didn’t give a damn who was watching.
Excitedly, I remember going through hashtags and eagerly pulling up IG pictures of women with the label. Maybe I had finally found a place to frame my personality and interests. To my small delight, beautiful, fierce women like Solange Knowles and Zoe Kravitz were getting all types of praise. To make it even better, even my chocolate sisters were out there poppin’ too (trust many an article about colorism to come btw) and were getting all the love for their melanin rich skin. However, after a while I noticed that most of the Carefree Black Girls featured the same aesthetic. I’m pretty sure we all know it. Huge 3C curls, septum piercing, bold lipstick, designer clothes- pictures all taken professionally or semi-professionally in a field or other backdrop with soft sunlight illuminating a pretty face. I realized none of that was me. Hell, to be quite honest, I don’t even consider myself photogenic enough to take pictures like that.
Then there’s the idea of what a Carefree Black Girl should act like to figure out. Does it mean they unapologetically play Pokemon Go and go braless and can effortlessly flirt with men? Does it mean they secretly excel in a STEM major even though they’re poets on the surface? Does it really mean they just don’t care about what people think about them…ever? None of these things apply to me, so disappointedly, I’ve felt the need to reject the image.
Admittedly, I understand that I could be completely out of line with these assumptions about what it means to be a Carefree Black Girl- although upon an initial search I did find that The Root did a similar article (found here) echoing some of the same sentiments. At the end of the day the label/hashtag can be how you make it. If you like, I love it.
But what about us who still feel like the oddball? Those of us who have that #BlackGirlMagic that’s not necessarily tied to graduating with a 3.8 or being a great athlete or having amazing artistic talent? Those of us who still don’t fit into the aesthetic of the Black Nerd turned Carefree Black Girl? My all time favorite show is Buffy the Vampire Slayer but I will still live tweet Power. My playlist will go from Kevin Gates to Sia to Ariana Grande. I have 5 piercings that aren’t on my face but am too afraid to get a tattoo. I work for a non-profit. I say Black Lives Matter almost daily. What does that make me?
I guess I say all this to affirm what many of you already know, which is black women are way too diverse for any label to really fit. This isn’t some revolutionary call to stop using Carefree Black Girl or create some new hashtag to include more types of black women. This is a call for all my fellow black women out there who can’t mold themselves into any label so far. It’s okay. Continue to be you-unapologetically. There are more of us than you could possibly imagine.
P.S. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is really the best show ever. Go watch it on Netflix.
P.S.S. Pleeassee give me feedback