In 2017, Black Entertainment Television (BET) aired a three-part series of the iconic Boston native RnB group “New Edition” titled “The New Edition Story“. Some of my favorite New Edition songs include Candy Girl, Can You Stand The Rain, If This Isn’t Love and Mr. Telephone Man. When the miniseries aired, as a lover of all things Black and 90s music, one of the first few people that popped up in my mind was Allegra Urujeni. Seventeen-year-old Rwandan, Allegra is a senior at Wellspring Academy. One of the things I know about Allegra is her love and passion for 80s, 90s and 2000s music, fashion and movies. Here is what she had to say about being a Carefree young Afrikan woman.
Can you paint for us a picture of what being carefree looks like for you?
It is dancing to SZA or to Set Adrift by P.M Dawn in a garden of daisies in a baggy blue acid jean with a graphic crop forgetting about the issues around me but getting lost in my own space.
So what is being carefree in everyday life?
Being carefree to me means being in a body well nurtured, being content with who you are, being blissful and not letting people’s negative judgment influence or change you. It is standing out and being poles apart from the norm. A world where people love the same things, dress the same way, want to act, think and talk the same. A world that rewards this sameness and punishes living outside this box. It is an act of resistance. As a carefree black girl it is really important to be carefree because it is something that is not practiced in our culture or even encouraged, which in my opinion it should. Instead of trapping Afrikan girls in a box that they don’t feel comfortable in, they should be encouraged to be open minded, speak their minds and even dress the way they want to.
That is beautiful. I believe there are thousands of ways of practicing being carefree, what is your way of doing so?
I guess the way I keep in tap or exercise my carefree-ness is by the people I choose to listen- for example Sade, Lauryn Hill, Solange and SZA. I primarily choose to listen to these women cause they produce and sing music so different- songs that tap into my soul and give me good feels. Secondly, it is by the friends or tribe that I surround myself with. People that I can be totally be free around and not judged by what kind of music genre I listen to or by the way I choose to dress. Lastly is not letting getting negative thoughts get the best of me.
Can you share with us about your journey of being carefree?
My journey on being a carefree black girl was quite a long one. I think it was the first time that I watched “A Different World” and it was Freddie Brook’s first appearance on the show. She loved dressing up in hipster clothes and what astounded me was how she was unbothered about what people thought of her. Moreover, Freddie styled her curly hair in different natural styles unlike the other black women that chose to have their hair in straight slick ponytails. She was a character that I could relate to after struggling to find my being represented in media. From then on, I was crazy in love with the 90s, from the music to discovering more black women artists and actresses that I could related to. I loved everything that had to do with the 90s, I started making my Instagram feed 90s related to the clothes that I chose to wear and to the pictures that I chose to blend with it. I got quite tired of being so normal and dressing up normally, so that’s when I decided to do something different from what everyone else was doing.
What would you tell 13 year old you?
If I could tell my 13 year old self, it would be one thing and that is to be comfortable in my own box and not struggle to fit into another box just to get accepted by society and find true happiness within me . I remember when I was 13 years old, I always wanted to fit in so badly. I was so insecure that I wasn’t thick like other girls, always covered myself cause I had no meat to show off like other curvy girls. So I’d definitely tell 13 year old self to love every inch of her body regardless of how uncurvy I was.
You talked about what influenced your instagram 90s aesthetics and your connection to 90s, could you tell us if in this you are able to reflect your Black Girl carefree-ness?
My Instagram’s aesthetics and 90s vibes does reflect my being carefree. It is an era I chose for my Instagram because it was something different and a box that I really felt content and secure. It lets me be expressive and go beyond my imagination. The 90s had great black women that I can really look up to and that were totally carefree, like Lauryn Hill, Tatyana Ali and Sade. They were full of magic and unbothered by what society had defined them as. The 90s has filled my void of insecurity, comforted my soul and released my carefree black girl magic in a way that I had never felt before.
Featured Video for this second interview: Che Lingo with Black Girl Magic