Ciara isn’t usually described as a gay icon, probably because she’s objectively not. I feel like maybe 60% of people think of her as the poor woman’s Beyonce or Riri, 10% know her as the artist who pioneered sports-bra-under-a-hoodie as an outfit, 10% just remember her as that chick Bow Wow dated (I know, right?), and another 10% think she’s that girl who did “Milkshake” but then their friend reminds them that was Kelis. But the other 10%, despite the usually overwhelmingly heterosexual content of her songs, know that Ciara is a gay landmark, at least in terms of her music videos.
It would be factually inaccurate to say that Ciara’s videos made me gay, because I was way queer way before I ever watched her moonwalk in drag, but also, let’s be real, that would make anyone gay. I’m pretty sure I became gayer in the process of putting together this post. And now so can you, because in Carmen’s grand tradition, I’m going to show you all of them!
The first time I noticed this video was when I was obsessively looking through Riese’s Autowin archives, where she wrote “If there was a channel that showed this video over and over again, 24-7, I would sit in my bed and watch this channel for the rest of my life, until I died, and I would still be happy and snug as a bug in a rug.” I have not succeeded in watching this video for my entire life, but I have succeeded in watching it many times in succession while eating frozen burritos and snuggling with my cat. Are glitter sweatsuits a thing? Were they a thing? Can we bring them back? The best thing about this song is that I actually am a teacher, and I will give Ciara ALL THE EXTRA CREDIT.
2. Like A Boy
Ok, yes, this song is virtually indistinguishable from the Beyonce song “If I Was A Boy” in both title and theme. But it is WAY GAYER. My favorite thing about Ciara is how she mixes feminine and masculine looks so well, and this video is like the Holy Grail of that aesthetic. Samantha Ronson would never wear a fedora again if she saw how good Ciara looks in one. Also, around 2:46 she becomes, like, the Neo of a Matrix of hot MOC ladies.
Sorry, but Ciara in a fitted cap and giant glitzy earrings is the hottest thing I’ve ever seen. Also, Jesus Christ, her legs. Is she wearing tiny belts of ammo as anklets? Because that’s what it looks like. Also, that little sneer she makes at Ludacris. We’re not even going to talk about the mechanical bull. What is there to say, really? Ciara would have had a great time at Rodeo Disco if you know what I mean. (I mean I would have tried to buy her a drink but probably just had an anxiety attack about it and had to step out and call my mom.)
4. 1, 2 Step
Okay, the gayest thing about this video is Missy Elliott. That doesn’t mean that visions of Missy and Ciara two-stepping together didn’t loop forever and ever in my brain and will stay there until I’m dead. I like to imagine that they’re friends in real life and get brunch and stuff. Missy likes pancakes, but Ciara always orders the eggs florentine because she just loves spinach.
Remember when you and your ex were talking about your fantasies and she was like “Well, it’s sort of embarrassing, but I’m really into the idea of like eight super ripped chicks who are construction workers but also wear hot pants for some reason?” She got that from this video. It’s like the Village People for queer girls. The song lyrics also prominently feature – this will not come as a surprise – the phrase “you betta work.” It’s apt, because a Ru Paul cameo would not have been out of place in this video.