The term “post-blackness” was coined by museum curator Thelma Golden and artist Glenn Ligon back in the 1990s to describe liberation through tossing off the burdens of race. This is about feeling constrained by the necessity to meet some definition of blackness and to represent the entire black race at every moment of time.

According to writer and journalist Touré, post-blackness questions the definition of “blackness” in the 21st century. There is currently a huge diversity among African Americans. The average genetic background includes large chunks of European and Native American as well as African DNA. Although older African Americans remember the Civil Rights struggle, many younger African Americans have grown up since, enjoying the benefits of improved opportunity. There is a black middle class in the US, and a wide range of accomplishment. Not only has Barack Obama been reelected as the first black president, but Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan have joined the ranks of US billionaires. However, when Zoe Saldena was recently chosen to star in a biopic about Nina Simone, she was attacked for not being “black enough.” Film distributor and BET founder Robert L. Johnson called the backlash “a relic of slave-era mentality.” He went on to say this wasn’t a matter of white racism, but of black against black.

It’s true that too many African Americans are still trapped in poverty and that too many young black men are in prison, but post-blackness frees individuals with talent and drive to go after opportunity and to succeed without feeling obligated by this kind of attack. Saldana replied to the bullying with a quote from Nina Simone, “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me—No Fear… I mean really, no fear.”