There’s something about the summertime that brings out a childlike joy and exuberance in me. I can hear the ice cream truck and jump ropes scraping the pavement… Without a doubt, summer is my favorite season. After suffering through shoveling snow in the dead of winter and my allergies losing the “knuck if you buck” tussle to pollen every spring, summertime is my time to shine. No matter how increasingly hot it gets (due to climate change) you’ll never hear me complain about the heat.
A couple of years ago, Megan Thee Stallion gave us the summertime anthem, “Hot Girl Summer.” Now the sistas are calling for a Soft Black Girl Summer, and I’m here for it. Black women need a Soft Black Girl Summer where we experience ease, pleasure, travel, unbridled joy, and yes softness.
Black women are simultaneously seen and silenced; we are revolutionaries yet restricted; we are creators yet co-opted. We are treated as mules only to be marginalized and erased. As for the loads we carry, they are credited to another—to anyone, for that matter—so long as the Black woman is not acknowledged for doing the work others shirked. We are trusted to construct, saw, sand, and assemble the table but barred from taking a seat at the very table we built.
For over two years, we have been in the midst of a pandemic, misogynoir, racism, and mass shootings, all which continue unabated. Work seems more demanding now than it was pre-pandemic. We are burned out—at this point, even our burnout is burned out. We need a season of respite where we can locate, gather, and return home to ourselves, to each other, and get acquainted with these new versions of ourselves that have emerged in the pandemic.
We won’t have the mental and emotional stamina to continue to press on if we don’t take a season to just be. On my social media, I’ve seen the funny-yet-gentle warnings that go something like “don’t soft life your way into debt,” and with the way these student loans are set up, I felt that. I think our default is to believe that we have to break the bank in order to indulge in the soft life. But I don’t subscribe to a narrow definition of softness that is bound to materialism and capitalism.
As the adage says, “the best things in life are free.” With inflation on the rise, an impending recession, and these gas prices (Jesus, be a fuel rebate!), I believe in the budget-friendly Soft Black Girl Summer. It includes free summer festivals that celebrate the African diaspora, visiting museums to take in the beauty and art, nature walks to soak up all the vitamin D my melanated skin can handle (do wear your sunscreen, sis!), discovering a new hobby, or simply curling up with one of the many books I’ve been meaning to read since the beginning of the year. All these free or low-cost activities can be done solo or with friends.
For me, Soft Black Girl Summer looks like gathering with friends and/or family when the only agenda is to chill and ‘kiki’ with each other; it looks like saying “no” to plans and events that will interfere with my ability to carve out time to replenish myself. Undoubtedly, my Soft Black Girl Summer will look different from yours, and that’s a good thing because we are not a monolith.
All I know is, this movement is long overdue. We are certainly worthy of all the ease, enjoyment, and frolicking one Soft Black Girl Summer can contain.
Sis, what does your “Soft Black Girl Summer” look like?Leave a Comment