In a really great interview with Fusion recently, Cree Summer, the voice of our beloved characters Susie Carmichael and Freddie Brooks, was asked about being considered one of the original carefree Black girls represented in the mainstream, leading the way for others like Willow Smith, Amandla Stenberg and her goddaughter, Zoe Kravitz (whom all cite her as an influence). The carefree Black girl, otherwise known as the second cousin to the quirky Black girl, is viewed as one who marches to the beat of her own drum. She is the alternative representation most of us love to see, and at times, crave to be. But if you ask Summer, seen as the poster child (make that woman) of all things easygoing and unique, she’s not really feeling the label because she says the carefree Black girl is somewhat of a myth. She does, however, believe that there is a rise in the conscious Black girl, self-aware and liberated, which should be celebrated.
“I don’t know a single black girl who’s carefree because it ain’t easy being a girl of color, period,” Summer said. “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.”
And Summer is raising her daughters, Brave and Hero, whom she calls her “savages” on Instagram, to embody that same way of free thinking and living.
“Listen, if you had dinner with them you’d say, these girls are savages. Or just went to the grocery store, you’d say, oh dear god they are savages,” she said. “They are so blazingly individual and they teach me so much everyday [sic]. My job now is to maintain their fearlessness. When Hero falls down or Brave blurts something out and everybody stares, we crack up. I don’t want them to get to that point where they are embarrassed or scared of everything. That’s the danger of growing up, you just get so f–king afraid of everything. And what you’re usually most afraid of is the judgment of a bunch of people you wouldn’t even hang out with on purpose. Who gives a shit? I’d rather be afraid of oh my god, I’m in shark-infested waters. Now there is a legitimate fear. Or Trump is going to run this country. There’s a legitimate fear.”
The actress and voice-over juggernaut also emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with people who embrace you for that ingenuity, like her BFF Lisa Bonet, rather than stifle it. And if anyone can do that, according to Summer, it’s Black women.
“Girls that make you feel good about yourself, that’s the most important thing,” she said. “Listen, I hit the jackpot, I really did. I can’t complain about a lot of things because I have such a deep piracy and sisterhood and girl gang that is just so powerful. To have girlfriends in your life, they reflect back to you how strong you are, how funny you are, how fine you are, how powerful you are. That’s one of the awful things that has happened in this world is there is a conspiracy against women and so much propaganda that we don’t know how to be friends.
She continued: “That’s bullsh-t. If anybody knows how to be friends, it’s black women. We have been enslaved and had to care for each other and each other’s babies and pick each other up in so many powerful ways. We know to take care of each other, we know how to be friends. Don’t buy the lies. That’s why I say Support Your Local Girl Gang because when I fall down and my world is in shambles, the ones that take care of me and pick me up and put me back together are my sisters, my friends. I can’t stress enough the importance of having women friends. It will change your life.”
Summer sure is preaching! Check out her full Fusion interview here, and let us know where you stand on the idea of the “carefree Black girl.”