An Open Apology Letter to Ciara

originally published on notmad.us

Dear Ciara,

I’m sorry. You were supposed to be Beyoncé!

I’m sorry we made long, awkward grinding chains in the sweaty middle school gym to “Goodies.” I’m sorry my sixth grade bff’s and I donned sequin sashes, bubble skirts and color coordinated shirts and danced to “1,2 Step” for the school talent show. I’m so, so sorry

I’m sorry there were all those weird rumors about you being a dude after the “Oh” video came out. Let’s be real, no man I know can move like that. They were just salty because you can go from sultry feminine to crumping, muscular, street moves so seamlessly. Doesn’t that make you the most bad-ass representation of female plurality and complexity, not a dude? As if you should receive any hate just because you don’t conform to hip hop’s basic (and all too common) hyper-feminine sexualized image of women. I’m sorry more people don’t talk about your moves in the “Gimme Dat” video, although 15 million views isn’t bad. You rocked knee pads for that one for god’s sake. You crushed it.

I’m sorry “I’m Out” isn’t on the radio all the time, but we have to listen to Omarion tell us where some chick “post to be” for 3 minutes. I’m SO sorry the “Ride” video was deemed too risqué for MTV when it first came out, we all know that shit would be aired today, no problem. Plus it was probably the start of some serious sexual awakening business for me. I’m sorry people probably talked smack about the fact that you made music for Step Up 2, but ya know what? “Get Up” was a banger, and Step Up 2 was a great time and we all wish we could watch it without feeling guilty. Let’s not forget Chamillionaire was featured on that one. Chamillionaire!

I’m sorry Missy Elliot being unfamiliar to many now-middle-schoolers means that you’ve doubtless fallen into — at least partial — obscurity for middle school millennials. Who’s gonna replace you during those sweaty, prepubescent dances!? I want to dwell on Missy for a second, though. The other reigning queen of my childhood. Remember when Missy put you on in 2005 with “Lose Control” and then when you blew up you featured her on “1,2 Step”? I’m sorry more people don’t talk about that being the best reciprocal relationship between two female hip hop/R&B artists ever.

Speaking of female artists, I’m sorry that when Beyoncé released that one surprise album that one time (whatever who even remembers that) everyone was like “feminism!” “wow!” “refreshing!” even though you released “Like a Boy” eight whole years before Beyoncé. Eight. If we wanna get feminist for a second, let’s dwell on you emerging from your break up with Future’s cheating ass (even though you guys created “Body Party” together, kills me watching that video now) with a beautifully produced single and an adorable son (although naming the kid after his dad, rough choice). AND you’re raising Future (Jr.?) on your own. You released “I Bet” (which is a certified banger and throws serious shade) less than a year after the break up demonstrating you won’t be slowed down for a second by Future’s fuck up — cheating on CIARA with your stylist, dude? Come on.

All of this is to say that you’re too great to fall out of style. I’m fighting for you Ci-ci and that’s why, most importantly, I’m sorry I don’t play your music every damn day anymore or practice my 1,2 step in front of my mirror with the door locked. Cause you were the best thing that happened to my 12 year old self and I’m still pulling for you.