Hot Girl Summer is a body-positive call to be proud of the skin you’re in and live your best life, a movement rooted in unapologetic confidence.
By Alie Jones
Megan Thee Stallion’s Hot Girl Summer has been deeply misinterpreted by her loving fans, her detractors, and media outlets alike, often wrongly thought of as a meme, a competition, or a marketing tool. This type of misrepresentation of Black women and our stories is not new, especially within the long history of others profiting off of our creativity and aesthetic. Recently, Megan filed to trademark the term “Hot Girl Summer.” If approved, it would cover merchandise specifically for products such as hoodies, T-shirts, and sportswear. This is so important, because terms and concepts created by Black women are so often co-opted, misused, and capitalized on by others. We have seen this happen over and over again with the term “intersectionality,” Instagram influencers impersonating Black women, the appropriation of our hairstyles, and more. We create something and it becomes the new wave that non-Black people seek to capitalize on.
Hot Girl Summer is a declaration of unconditional self-love, creative expression, and pure joy. It is a lifestyle choice and call to action. Megan Thee Stallion is urging us all to create the reality we want to live in by radically defying patriarchal views of how women supposedly should or shouldn’t dress and act. It’s about holding space for your truth, whatever that means.
This movement is especially important for Black women and femmes in the face of misogynoir. It encourages us to explore self-worth and liberation through joyful expression. I believe this sense of agency was best captured by Sid Madden when she said, “Hot girl summer is a culture, a lifestyle, and a manifesto.”
As a tall Black woman, I love what Megan is doing for women who look like me. I remember how, growing up, it was never considered cool or desirable for a woman to be tall. I even used to slouch to seem shorter. Now, there are folks asking about how they too can be “Stallions” because of Megan’s confidence. She shows love to everyone, but she puts on for a specific group of women who have been marginalized because of our height. This summer, I’ve been inspired by Megan in multiple ways — out here with my juicy body in my crop tops and rompers, embracing my rolls and stretch marks.
From her iconic outfits to her quotable lyrics, Megan is reminding us to live our best lives and bluntly urging us to stop comparing ourselves to curated social media posts that are often portraying a single definition of success and happiness. While scrolling, many of us often compare our bodies and lifestyles to the Influencers we follow. In an interview with Sway In The Morning, Megan said, “When I see girls and they might not be comfortable with what they have going on, it’s probably like a thing that they see on social media. . . Everybody is so put together and perfectly there.”
At the same time, Megan uses her own social media to inspire her hotties. Embracing her natural body while reminding her fans to do whatever makes us feel good. Whether you are the life of the party or reading all of the books in the library, wearing a bikini or maxi-dress, do you UNAPOLOGETICALLY. Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement praised how Megan encourages bodily autonomy and femme pleasure on BET’s “Black Coffee“: “Part of what Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi and all these other people give, is they bring joy. They let us be free. We have so many things that oppress us and hold us, we need places and spaces where we can be free and just exist.”
The young Houston rapper is using her platform to encourage and inspire others to live out their wildest dreams and go up against limitations that might be structural, financial, societal, personal, physical, emotional, or mental. I believe this makes Hot Girl Summer a symbol of hope. Historically, summers for Black communities have been full of trauma and grief. For marginalized communities, carefree celebrations of self, community, and culture are absolutely necessary.
After her mother, Holly, passed away, Megan took the time she needed to grieve and poured her passion into her art. Her mom was her biggest supporter and continues to inspire the rapper to be her absolute best self. She truly has taken the world by storm with Hot Girl Summer, showing us all the value of holding space for our emotions. She is constantly leveling up and obliterating expectations, turning trauma into triumph. A true Hip Hop feminist changing the rap game, while also being everyone’s twerk goals.
Megan’s mixtape FEVER was released the week my grandma Genevieve passed away. That same week, I flew to New Orleans to co-lead a Leadership training for student leaders. I was twerking in the morning before sessions to get ready, spending days presenting on emotional intelligence and the importance of resilience, then crying at night afterward. My Hot Girl Summer began full of grief and emotion. I started off the season processing a lot of traumatic family events and questioning my purpose. Addressing internalized toxic traits and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Hot Girl summer came into my life at the perfect time and I decided to release by dancing it out. While grieving the passing of my grandma, I listened to a lot of Megan Thee Stallion. I relate to Megan’s lyrics and really appreciate her empowering delivery. FEVER reminded me who the fuck I am. I come from a lineage of resilient Black women.
“Know they speaking on a champ/ Everything that I done been through made me who I am right now” – Megan Thee Stallion, Pimpin
My grandma was a lot like Megan’s mom, someone who didn’t take any shit from anyone, and I think she would have loved Hot Girl Summer. After years of doing domestic work, she would have liked the idea of devoting an entire season to doing what makes you happy. She was a woman who poured everything she had into her family and community. Black women who work hard for their families often sacrifice their happiness for others, and they deserve something like Hot Girl Summer. They deserve more rest, guilt-free fun, and celebration.
Hot Girl Summer is a body-positive call to be proud of the skin you’re in and live your best life, a movement rooted in unapologetic confidence, self-love, and having fun. We still have some time left in Summer 2019, and I want to finish this season with some REAL Hot Girl shit. Honoring the legacy of my grandma, embracing my body, confidently wearing what I want, and dancing like nobody’s watching.
Alie Jones (Alexandria) is a self-care advocate, writer, body acceptance educator, and Creole mermaid. She is the founder of Bodacious Bombshells, a wellness collective based in Oakland. Alie is passionate about promoting mental health awareness, body positivity, and engaging in new conversations through the arts. Alie graduated with a BA in Cinematic Arts and Technology from CSU Monterey Bay and a minor in Creative Writing and Social Action. She also received an MPA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies with a concentration in nonprofit organizations. Her work on Black Mental Health and self-care has been featured on Afropunk, xoNecole, and Medium.com.