Five Ciara Videos That Made Me Queer

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!

1. Promise

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.

3. Ride

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.

5. Work

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.


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Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

Rachel has written 771 articles for us.

48 Comments

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    I cannot be objective about this person because it is her fault the majority of the world pronounces my name wrong.

    For the love of all things holy IT’S KIRA not SEEARA

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    My word, the “Promise” video basically is my sixteenth year of life where I just sat watching it over and over again not exactly understanding my fascination but knowing it was in the background of every sexual fantasy I was entertaining at the time.

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    Ride is the only music video of hers that captivated me. Just last month I watched it on youtube over a dozen times in one sitting. When my mind wasn’t blank watching that video, I was thinking “mhmmmmmmm”

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    HOW DID YOU KNOW?!! I’ve had ‘Like a boy’ and its Beyonce doppelganger (the two are the same freaking song) stuck in my head all of today. Cause last night I went to a blues event and shared a really incredible dance to ‘If I were a boy’ with a girl who was an amazingly talented follow; I got as close to feeling like Ciara as I’ll probably ever feel. And then I come home and see this. Thank you. That lady is a bamf.

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    It reached a point where i couldn’t even watch the Promise video with other people around. I had to wait until the family was sleep/gone, hide away in a secluded area and watch it on the internet with ear phones in. It was like porn for my just-accepted-I’m-gay self.

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    I just want to say THANK YOU! This post has given me life. I have always felt this way about “Promise” and I see that I’m not the only one. Don’t even get me started on “Like a Boy.” Guurrrl.

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    Ok, I’m maybe the only one here but seriously guys, she’s hot and dances/moves/even breaths like a pro. SINGING on the other hand is obvs not one of her strength, at least not to my ears. way too high and somehow not melodic at all (is that fine? I’m kind of a music describing noob here).

    So I’m just sittin’ here, enjoying her videos on mute but I yeah, I can see your points in getting made queer.

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    Very nice collection! I can see the appeal for these vids making you “more gay,” but for me it’s all about Janet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeXPKcdAhkA) and Madonna (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrGDn82ea8M). Those two vids verified things for me! I mean, who did not want to trade places with the guy in Janet’s vid when she put her hand between his legs!?! And who did not who did not want to trade places with the bondage girl so Madonna could spank them!?!

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    Late to the party, but I need to share cause this article is so perfect! I was just showing all of these videos to my girlfriend yesterday (as well as Goodies, which I insisted had a very feminist message) and trying to explain to her why I wanted to do/be/be friends with Ciara. I would sell my soul to dance like she does.

    Also, this: “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.”

    Anyone who calls Ciara the poor man’s anything is PATENTLY, OBJECTIVELY WRONG. She is amazing.

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