In the past couple of years, the “Carefree Black Girl” movement has been on the uprise. While there is debate on where the phrase originated, Tumblr, Twitter, and blogs have spread #carefreeblackgirl all over the internet. I even have it in my Instagram and Twitter profile bios. To me, a carefree black girl is a black girl that is unapologetically herself. She is aware of her oppressions, but chooses not to let it hinder her self-love. She is free, open, and multidimensional. She knows that she doesn’t have to fit into a certain mold, and that’s okay. She artistic, creative, and has a style that is for her. I appreciate the movement because it gives me a space to be myself.
Carefree black girls are everywhere. I see celebrities like Solange, Janelle Monae, and Willow Smith embrace their inner Carefree Black Girl. I read blogs, and follow pages on Facebook like Afropunk. I hear them on my new favorite podcast, “Another Round“. I comforted daily by all of the Carefree Black Girls I see on my Instagram timeline. But in my comfort, I can’t help but wonder if the Carefree Black Guy exists. I wonder if there is an acceptable space for them.
I’ve met some guys that could fit into this category, but they are usually not accepted in certain spaces. For example, I know some guys that dress how they want, where their hair in afros, have piercings, and listen to indie music. They are aware of their oppressions as black men, and are unapologetic. They are comfortable in who they are. But, these guys are not usually accepted in the black community. In fact, some people even accuse these guys of “acting white”. Or sometimes, those same men are challenged on their blackness or manliness.
A few weeks ago I was watching American Idol (yes, I still watch the show), and one of my all time favorite contestants Quentin Alexander had his “Carefree Black Boy” challenged. After a performance, he was being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest and expressed how he felt. His answered was fairly simple, “this sucks”. He was visibly upset and had no problem talking about why. Everyone seemed a bit taken aback because Quentin is usually smiling and soft spoken. He’s most known for his eccentric style and hauntingly beautiful voice. His identity as a person and artist is very clear. He could be described as a Carefree Black Guy.
After he sat down, Harry Conncik Jr. pretty much told him that if it sucks then he should go home and to not bite the hand that feeds him. While maintaining his poise, Quentin approached Harry and explained himself. Later in the show, Ryan Seacrest made a comment about not knowing if Quentin was going to hit Harry. Quentin’s response was that his mom raised him better than that. Ryan made it seem like he was not allowed to feel anger without becoming violent. After the incident, Quentin was questioned about whether he regretted what happended, and his response was “no”.
This whole situation sparked my question, does the Carefree Black Guy exist? Can he maintain who he is and be accepted and treated as an individual? Is he allowed to be carefree and express his emotions without being reprimanded?
When I think of a carefree black guy, I think of my cousin Angelo. I think of Frank Ocean, Jussie Smollett, Kanye West, Jaden Smith, and Kendrick Lamar. I think of I Will on Fresh Prince, the guys from NWA, or Dwayne Wayne on “A Different World”. Maybe the Carefree Black Guy does exist. I hope a movement among them sparks so that more black men will feel free to be eccentric, free thinkers, quirky, and unapologetically carefree.