I can’t recall another period with such a wide-ranging mainstream presence as this Carefree Black Girl archetype. You may recognize it as Willow Smith rocking a pink Mohawk, Corinne Bailey Rae sauntering around Paris, Janelle Monáe serving android realness, and 100% of Solange Knowles’ life on Instagram.
I don’t know if any of these ladies would identify as such, but their influence is deeply felt and appreciated in CFBG spaces. They exhibit the qualities we all cherish to a wider audience that isn’t regularly exposed to the multitudes of black female creativity.
While the visual presence of Carefree Black Girls is exciting, some might wonder what would prompt such a hyper-specific expression. By putting the word “carefree” front and center, it’s making a statement that we don’t want to be solely defined by hardships and stereotypes so we can enjoy our lives as we please. Carefree should not be mistaken with careless. This particular audience is equally exposed to content exploring identity, culture, and history and its implications on them. There’s a clear reverence for the difficulties they might face but an equal focus on embracing the qualities that make them unique and beautiful. The idea also embodies not letting an outside gaze rule the way you express yourself.
Overall, I think Carefree Black Girl is a lovely and much-needed step in the right direction when it comes to exploring black identities. There may be concern that it lends itself to a passing trend or restrictive roles, but fear not. The absolute worst case scenario is that girls might start wearing floral headbands and feeling great about themselves. And, that sounds like a pretty magical prospect, if you ask me.
Who Exactly Is “The Carefree Black Girl”?
By Jamala Johns