I write about culture from a pro-Black perspective

Ciara’s Career: Stomping on the Line Between Male and Female

I think that we are supposed to just marvel at Ciara’s dancing in this video.

But the truth is, acrobatic though it may be, there is nothing here to really shout about. She’s a better dancer than Beyonce by a longshot, but Bey has a greater sense of how movement can accentuate or punctuate a song. So even if she’s not doing quite as much, it usually adds an interesting visual dimension to the song.

Here Ciara is moving and her dancers are moving, but we don’t know why. We don’t care. It doesn’t move us.

But more importantly – Ciara is simply not all that interesting when she’s not dancing (pun intended) right on that line between male and female performer. Her claim to fame was being the pretty girl who danced “like a man.” And for a time she seemed unconcerned with how people responded to that fact.

Take “Oh”:

Ciara dancing on the hood of that car should go down as one of the great iconic images in pop music history. But what is most interesting is how throughout the video she jumps back and forth between “feminine” and “masculine” movements, so much so that the difference between them is rendered completely meaningless.

Or take “Promise” in which she shows an admirable level of comfort displaying this duality, donning baggy sweats to play (essentially) her own love interest.

…and then makes that duality memorably explicit in “Like A Boy”:

It’s not an accident that these three songs were her most critically lauded. The charms of each are quite apparent even if you take away the great videos.

But it seems now that Ciara is so shook by the omnipotence of Rihanna and Beyonce, that she’s completely lost her identity in a series of uninteresting hypersexualized and offensive images designed, presumably, to make her into a conventional sex symbol.

There is probably an audience for videos where Ciara puts in a good 4-minute workout, but I don’t know that it will extend her career much longer.



Posted on October 18th, 2010 - Filed under Music,Sexuality
Tags :: , , , , , , , , , , , ,