To many of us 80s and 90s babies, Cree Summer is the prototypical “carefree black girl.” She’s even been named by contemporary “carefree black girls,” like Willow Smith and Amandla Stenberg, as a source of inspiration. Summer’s personal style and general aura, both on and off screen, have always relayed a fresh perspective and a carefree attitude.
In a recent interview with Fusion, however, Summer gets real about the term “carefree black girl.” When asked about the label that’s often applied to her, the actress and artist had this to say:
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.
The revelation might come as a shock to some, but it adds a layer of depth to Cree’s persona, that goes beyond memes and old images from her “Different World” days. Being carefree, just like being magical, is complicated and political, because life and the world as we know it, is also complicated and political.