With summer just around the corner, I can’t help but think about a few things that we’re all excited about from BBQs to extended baecations and plenty of long summer nights. From June through the first week of August we do our best to stay summertime fine and live whatever version of our best lives, but I’d be a terrible advocate for the summer if I didn’t mention the summer phrases that have us all in a chokehold. 

This year we’ve got everything from the infamous “hoochie daddy” to “hot girl summer” making a comeback. With that being said we’ve gotta discuss the never-ending saga of something I’d like to call “The City Girl Effect.”

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Some of you know exactly what I mean while others are stuck between trying not to feel old because as far as you know, the “City Girls” are a popular rap duo — and they are — but JT and Caresha did way more than give us a few of our favorite summer bops. They’ve helped some women and femmes redefine the way we attack life, men, dating, sex and the summer. 

Since 2017, the City Girls have been giving us reasons to ask leading questions like where exactly is the bag? And reminding us that if you act up there will most definitely be a smack to follow. My analysis, however, centers on the rise of what seems to be the glorification of heaux culture, lack of “class,” and an overall negative outlook on the way we’ve been told women should behave. 

If we are honest with ourselves the City Girls didn’t start the trend of celebrating heaux culture in women especially not in black women, but there’s been an influx in the way we discuss it. 

Taking it back to the early 2000s with popular songs by artists like Trina, Khia and Jackie O who wrote about consummation coming at a price and reclaiming what it meant to be a b***h by putting “the baddest” in front of it. 

These songs were meant to reshape the way that women were told to feel about our right to speak up and say “I don’t have a problem with you talking about my assets, but if you’re gonna do so, don’t think I won’t/ can’t do the same for my benefit”. Going back further than that, artists like Lil Kim and Foxy Brown made it clear that there wasn’t room to disrespect women because of their freedom with sexuality.

Phrases like “bad b****h” and “hot girl summers” and adamantly identifying as a “city girl” aren’t new, but for some folks, they are a problem. The audience seems to be split when discussing the freedom women should have to dress, talk, and behave however they see fit while still benefiting from the social privileges afforded to women and femme presenting folks. 

“Women shouldn't be afforded reverence based on our aptitude to prove that we can be found respectable.”

When having this conversation we also have to factor in the ways that it’s discussed depending on the women in question. Black women and femmes are rarely given the freedom to explore what it means to take ownership of our sexual autonomy, especially in public spaces. The same concepts that we judge Megan The Stallion, the City Girls, and Summer Walker for are the very same reasons we called Madonna and even Marilyn Monroe iconic. The same costumes that are empowering on Brazilian singer Anitta are “unladylike” on Saweetie and that’s what we have to change. 

The notion that women and femmes who seek to reclaim their time, bodies, messaging, and vernacular are somehow less in need of protection, grace, empathy, and respect is trash. Telling our daughters and mentees that female rappers aren’t role models whilst simultaneously reciting lyrics in our private texts and Instagram clap backs are hypocrisy, to say the least, and the silent justifications we make for Beyoncé’s outfits, videos and sexual prowess while calling Chlöe Bailey “thirsty” and “cringe” is an oxymoron, and yet here we are. 

We often justify our judgment with time and place as a measurement, but who decided that any of us get to tell another woman/femme how they should act? The need to remain part of the movement while simultaneously judging is giving white appropriation vibes.

Why not enjoy the hot girl summer from afar and congratulate the folks able to participate in ways that you can’t? Why not support the use of personal body expression in a way that you aren’t comfortable with rather than sit in a corner or on the other end of your phone mad about someone else’s choice of existence and life experience? Especially when you get nothing from the deliberate belittling of a woman seeking to find her footing in a world hell-bent on its ability to control her. 

Gabrielle Union once said “I was holding court — because I can turn a phrase and be a little slick myself — and I was trashing somebody. Just ripping them to shreds, head to toe,” Union recalls. “A.J. pulls me aside and said, ‘Okay, now, how did your life change? Did you get the guy? Did you get the job? Is your house any bigger? Did money just magically get put in your pocket? What positive [event] happened in your life after you just tore that woman down?'”

The resounding answer to most of the questions in that statement was, no. 

The way I see it. You’ve got two options. You can live or let life happen to you this summer, but don’t go ruining anyone else because the city girl vibes are too hot for your heatwave preference.