I once got into the minor Instagram beef with this guy who writes for the TheRoot.com after posting a picture of Ciara with her pregnant belly at the 2014 Grammy Awards. She looked stunning in this gold embroidered dress that fit her perfectly. My caption read: "This may be the best/classiest I've ever seen #ciara look. +10 points for the baby bump." Then this guy comes out of nowhere only to start trolling under my comments. "Classy? How?" he starts, "She ain't even married (crying laughing emoji face)"
Ugh.One of you.
Being me, I volley with him a few times, and he ultimately responded by saying that complimenting an unmarried, pregnant Ciara, was like "turning back the clock" and celebrating mediocrity. Way to go, The Root, you picked a great one. I wondered when in 2014, did black men begin bashing successful black women who were unmarried with kids? Especially when so many had most likely been raised by single mothers. But then I had to wonder, if I had posted a picture of Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, or Katie Holmes - all women who were unmarried at some point while pregnant - would The Root troll have had the same response? I'm almost certain he wouldn't have. I wish I could stop there and leave this as a disappointing case of self-hatred from black men against black women, but I actually need to take this a level deeper. You see, I don't think it would have happened if I had posted Halle Berry either, or even Solange now that she's reached her level of success. No. There's a special type of judgement that seems to be reserved for Ciara, because Ciara is black women, everywhere.
There's an unspoken value system that black women seem to be subject to, that is perfectly illustrated by the life and times of Ciara Princess Harris (Wilson). I believe that all black women experience it, but if affects some more harshly than others; those of us who are less than perfect, who make mistakes in the public eye, and still keep moving along. Now, let's start with a dollar. Since black women are a double minority, it's foolish to assume we even start with a 100 cents, so we'll begin with 85. In real life Ciara would lose a few extra cents because her middle name is Princess but since nobody's really checking for her government so I won't be petty.
Ciara came onto the scene and quickly gained a rep as the young, attractive, sexy but mildly talented "around the way" girl. Although Ciara's first album went triple platinum, her second album also went platinum, and she's recognized as an incredibly talented dancer, she, for some reason never seemed to be able to rise above the label of mediocre talent. Maybe it's because when Ciara was at the peak of her singing career, around 2006, so was Beyonce', who had just released her breakout album, B'Day. Imagine the pressure "competing" against the future Queen Bey (Bey didn't quite have the Bee Hive yet at that time) knowing how talented and deserving you are, but not getting the recognition. So let's get this straight- talented, but not talented enough. Got it. Effort without reward costs 10 cents.
Now, Cece has had a string of highly publicized failed relationships. For some reason, we as black women seem to have trouble picking out men even though they've shown us early warning signs. There was her first love interest, Bow Wow, with whom she recorded the song "Like You" and shot a video with in 2005. In my opinion, that was her first mistake - dating a man who's music career was undoubtedly on the decline while hers was on the rise. But like many of us, Ciara was young and unaware of her worth, so you go get you a Bow Wow. Then, bless her heart, she dated 50 Cent, which had us all like "Oh, you trying to grow up huh, Ciara?" 50 was hood, brash, lewd, and worst of all messy. She featured 50 in her single "Can't Leave 'Em Alone" where she and 50 do some very heavy petting in a couple scenes and in the hook she sings "I tried that good boy thing but the dope boy's turning me on..." A moment of silence for Ciara getting turned out by a sexy chocolate hood boy. It's okay girl, we all fall for it, but dammit you're supposed to LEARN! Alas, Ciara wouldn't be black women everywhere if she didn't do is one more time. If Ciara had more deeply analyzed her past, she probably could have avoided FUTURE mistakes.
Get it? Because, Future - okay moving on...
So 5 cents to pay for multiple bad relationships, and an addition 10 cents for doing videos with all of them! (Yes, she did a video with Future, too). Another 5 cents for naming your son after your boyfriend's rap name. That was not well-thought out to say the least. Now this brings us to my Instagram beef with The Root troll. Because I am said "black women" I was really feeling Ciara and Future's relationship and wanted them to succeed. I, like Ciara, ignored his collection of BMs and the content of his songs, and mainly paid attention to
how fine Future was how good they looked together. Then, she got pregnant and I was excited. Ciara and I were one, and we were happy. What I'm now realizing is that The Root troll felt well within his right to come on my page a be a caveman evangelist because in his mind Ciara was as a 55 cent around the way black chick, barely clinging to half of her remaining dignity. His comment was ignorant and offensive, not just towards Ciara but also to me.
I was offended because Ciara is a talented woman with a good body that was strategically made a distraction early in her career. I was offended because she's a beautiful girl who will forever be associated with some ugly people in her past. I was offended because she's a good person who made some bad choices. And I am offended still today because on her quest for happiness, every now and then a troll comes along tries to make it seem like she doesn't deserve it. Now that she is married to Russell Wilson and they are expecting their first child together, people seem to feel like she is somehow "redeeming herself", but the truth of the matter is: Cece really don't owe ya'll anything. Her past has not vanished, it has only made her stronger and more resilient. She's imperfect as hell and will continue to be judged and as a result, she will only shine brighter. Ciara deserves her fairytale ending because Ciara is black women everywhere.