Assuming you haven’t been exiled to a cattle-breeding farm in Siberia, you’ve probably heard about Hot Girl Summer. It’s an energy! An aesthetic! A manifesto! And most of all, it’s a lifestyle.
Like with many cultural trends, however, Hot Girl Summer does not come without its complexities. Lifted from a lyric by one of our favorite female rappers of the year, the phrase has spawned some debate as to who, exactly, has the right to celebrate Hot Girl Summer at all. Is it for the single girls? Women of a certain age? Should it be reserved for Black femmes, or is it a universal term? In the first episode of R29's Go Off, Sis podcast, the women of Unbothered set the record straight and determine how, exactly, we define the parameters around Hot Girl Summer.
“Honestly, Hot Girl Summer is really about being your best self,” says Raven Baker, Unbothered’s social media editor. “You know what I'm saying. You're out, you're about, you're dressed good, you smell good, hair is laid. You have energy, you're driving the boat, your friends are dancing, you're uplifting them. But all and all, it really is about just doing what you feel like is right for you.”
Channing Hargrove, R29’s fashion news editor, has a different take: “For me,” she says, “a Hot Girl Summer is: I'm taking my vitamins, I'm drinking my water, I love my outfits, my skin is glowing, I'm spending time with my friends. But on the flip side, I reserve every right to be like, ‘I'm not leaving my apartment today, I'm not getting out of my bed, all I want to do is to drink Champagne.’”
The “Hot Girl Summer” movement is appearing all over — it's viral, it's a Twitter hashtag, a call to action, a figure of speech. But however pervasive, the question remains: Can any and everyone claim to have a Hot Girl Summer?
“Have we gotten to the point where it's too inclusive?” asks Unbothered managing editor Danielle Cadet. “People place a lot of expectations on Black women. And in my opinion, I think what I love so much about Hot Girl Summer, whether or not I feel like I'm participating, is that we're pushing back on those boundaries and those barriers that have been put out — that have been put on us as Black femmes.”
Listen above as the women discuss the politics of race, age, relationship status, and plenty more, under the enormous, glorious umbrella that is Hot Girl Summer.