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.
"Much has changed in the 60 years since Doc Muse first opened the doors of the Green Valley Pharmacy in Arlington County.
Back then, Northern Virginia pharmacies sent African American customers to the back door for their orders and purchases, he recalled. But Muse’s store, opened in 1952 in the heart of the black community of Nauck, treated those same customers with respect. Over time, the pharmacy would become known as the shop where you could get a fair deal and, when necessary, a little help.
The pharmacy was recently named a local historic landmark, and Muse was recognized as an example of “the triumph of the spirit and the indomitable will of one man.””
Dr. Leonard Muse has been serving the black community in Arlington Virginia since 1952. He is the oldest pharmacist in the state at 90 and a WW2 veteran. He and a business partner, Waverly Jones, opened Green Valley in 1952 when they realized no existing pharmacy in the county would serve or treat African-Americans properly. Dr. Muse became the sole proprietor of the store in 1955. Even today, the doc is sharp as knife and always active around the store.
Doc has always stood in the background of his community supporting locals in their times of need. Today, the pharmacy is busy as ever while also serving as a popular meeting ground for the neighborhood.
“This is not a story about skin color. This is not a story about how race is a social construction. I’d reckon such a story would be boring for you. If it’s not, let me tell you—it would be boring to me. I’m not interested in narrating the tribulations of being, surefire bet, the lightest black person in the room. Nor am I informed enough to tell you of the triumphs. In America, skin color is the x in virtually every social equation. It is predictive. I am quite positive that being lighter has meant privileges that were not afforded to people with browner skin, many privileges that I have not even identified. This is a story about history, about identity.”—Josie H. Duffy (via thesmithian)
““If you blame Native American communities for their poverty, remember that the entire continent was stolen from them.
If you blame Black American communities for their relative poverty, remember that Black Americans were stolen from a continent, trafficked, and enslaved for nearly 300 years.
Tell me again about how your family ‘started from nothing’ when they immigrated. Didn’t they start from whiteness? Seems like a pretty good start.
The American Dream required dual genocides, but tell me again about fairness and equal opportunity. Tell me about democracy, modeled after the Iroquois Confederacy. Tell me your proud heritage, and I will show you the violence that made it so.”
— (via nativnuance)”—
Kim Katrin Crosby, Keynote Speaker for LGBTQ History Month at Dartmouth, on September 30, 2013
My parents came to the United States with a suitcase filled with things from their previous lives. They worked two jobs, seven days a week, while studying as full-time students to complete their education. My dad tells me stories about how he waited tables late into the night, while my mom sold shoes at flea markets on her days off to earn spare cash to buy a car. They built the privilege affirmative action says we have from nothing but hard work.
I was given the gift of being able to be born into a family that defined the American Dream. My parents taught me English and Chinese simultaneously, spent hours reading me stories of Snow White and Cinderella, and the Monkey adventures in Journey to the West. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that they had learned English from memorizing vocabulary cards and reading old textbooks on grammar.
And though my parents taught me English, they ask me to deal with scheduling doctor appointments for them; they ask me to proofread emails for them, out of embarrassment that they feel their English isn’t sufficient to be taken seriously, it sickens me when I realize that while their mastery of the English language is more than proficient, it doesn’t matter, because the rest of the world doesn’t care.
But you wish you were Asian.
I grew up, hearing the words of boys whose only “standard” for the girls they were interested in was “Asian,” realizing that the disgustingly scary fetish of Asian women is actually a reality. I grew up, watching the world’s understanding of my cultural heritage be reduced to ching chong’s and ling long’s, kimonos, and fortune cookies. I grew up, being asked if my parents belonged to the communist party, when I held in me the stories they told me of labor camps they were sent to at the age of 13, of how one day, they couldn’t go to school anymore, of how my grandparents tried desperately later on, long after Mao’s regime ended, to force their children, now adults, to eat copious amounts of food, as if to make up for times when there was nothing to eat.
But you want to be Asian.
I live in a country that has yet to realize that yellow face is not appropriate on mainstream television, a world that somehow doesn’t realize that statements like, “Kill the Chinese!!” are not acceptable to be aired on talk shows. I live in the 21st century, where the only understanding I can get about the story behind my heritage comes from my own parents, where the only times I can see people who look like me on screen is on Youtube.
I grew up as an Asian American, an individual in a group of people that never really belonged anywhere. Because in the United States, we’re nothing more than descendants of the people who invented orange chicken, and in China, we’re foreigners who fail to adopt the careful nuance of the dialect spoken there. We grew up, holding our ethnicity as something of great pride, and at the same time, of great burden.
Our representation in the United States government practically is nonexistent. There is no proof that we as a group of human beings existed beyond the pages of Amy Tan novels. The caricatures on television taught us that we were nerds, deficient at English and social skills, bound by our supposed tiger parents to live out their dreams.
And because we apparently don’t exist to the rest of the United States, the inherent racism my “fascinating” ethnicity faces also ceases to exist.
But still. You enjoy your green tea and kungfu movies and paper lanterns. You love your Chinese 1 class and your Japanese Civilizations course and Wang Leehom. And my goodness, what you would give, if only you could be Asian.
This is exactly what I’ve been struggling to put into words, thank you.
“True, the Black woman did the housework, the drudgery; true, she reared the children, often alone, but she did all of that while occupying a place on the job market, a place her mate could not get or which his pride would not let him accept. And she had nothing to fall back on: not maleness, not whiteness, not lady-hood, not anything. And out of the profound desolation of her reality, she may very well have invented herself.”—
“First, let’s get a couple of misconceptions out of the way. My call for an Asian American Iron Fist is not meant to displace Danny Rand from the story. It is, in fact, the opposite. In my mind, casting a young Asian American in the lead role does nothing to change his classic origin: He can still be the son of a wealthy businessman. He can still accompany his family on an expedition to seek out K’un L’un. He can still train under Lei Kung, the Thunderer. He can still seek revenge against the man who killed his father. Danny being Asian American precludes none of these things.”—Marvel, Please Cast an Asian American Iron Fist | thenerdsofcolor (via americachavez)
Quevanzhané Wallis as Annie:YOU'RE RUINING MY CHILDHOOD, ANNIE IS A RED-HEADED WHITE GIRL, NOT SOME GIRL FROM THE "GHETTO" THIS IS STUPID, IM NOT RACIST I SWEAR
Rooney Mara as Princess Tiger Lily:Ah yes, she was perfect for the role. What do you mean whitewashing? She is a good actress. Native American women don't try hard enough to go into acting, that's their fault. Make your own movies if that's what you want to see.