Ciara is stepping into Spring with new music, a clear message, and something to say to her online critics.
ESSENCE caught up with Ciara during SXSW in Austin, TX while she was appearing on behalf of Unlimited by Degree, discussing all the things that make her sweat and how she manages life, family, and career when the heat is on.
The songstress says she’s ready to kick off Spring with an anthem for women everywhere. Her highly-anticipated single, “For Da Girls” arrives on March 24, with lyrics uplifting women for their resilience and perseverance despite what walk of life they come from.
“I’m excited to share this record with my fans,” Ciara says. “It’s really about female empowerment. It is about celebrating our independence as women and that inner strength that we have and how we’re so capable.”
For Ciara, it was important to make sure the single was released during Women’s History Month as an ode to the strength of a woman.
However, the songstress has managed to cause an onslaught of social media debate in recent weeks. First, fans questioned the lyrics of “For Da Girls” in a snippet she shared on Instagram, which pointedly praises women who are able to provide for themselves without leaning on a man.
“This is for da girls gettin’ money / This is for da girls that don’t need no man / This is for da girls in love with they-self / This is all for da girls that don’ did it for they-self / This is for da girls that’s i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t / This is for all da girls that be livin’ stress-free / This is for all the girls on a mission like me“
Some social users were quick to point out that Ciara was touting a lifestyle of singlehood and independence to Black women, while she herself is married to a millionaire and has three children.
Next, she lived up to another set of lyrics found within the snippet, “I’m way too fine to be inside – I’m outside,” when she appeared at the Vanity Fair post-Academy Awards party rocking a neck-breaking, barely there Dundas gown that showcased her toned physique in little more than crystals, mesh, and a thong. Again, fans on social had a mouthful to say, calling the gown everything from distasteful to disrespectful to her station as a wife and mother.
When it comes to all of the backlashes declaring that her career clashes with her marriage, Ciara believes her relationship only strengthens her ability to speak about independence as a woman and to express herself and her style how she sees fit.
“The thing that I love about my husband is that he speaks life into my independence. Before I came into his life, he knew who I was. And he’s always respected that from day one.”
“I think there’s something really beautiful about the woman that knows who she is and is confident in who she is. She’s fearless. She goes after what she wants. Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, there’s still an independence that you have to make the house go round to make things happen,” the songstress observes. “Or the girl that’s out there grinding, trying to get it. I’ve been that girl since I was a little girl. I mean, I had to do a lot on my own. Whether it was from the vision of the songs I would write, starting with ‘Goodies,’ or whether it was from running my own label – that’s who I am.”
However, Ciara believes that those who the message is for, ultimately get it.
“I think those that may not be so confident may feel a certain kind of way, but those that are confident in themselves, especially [regardless of] a male’s perspective, know what that is. And they love what that is, and they celebrate what that is and they support what that is. They uplift what that is in us. So that’s like a good bit of my inspiration and where I’m coming from with this record.”
Controversies aside, Ciara says she’s excited to spend her first SXSW with a brand she believes in.
“It’s been fun being here. This is my first time coming actually, which is really cool. I love the world of tech…and also seeing women in tech is really cool and fly to me. Da girls!” she said.
“I mean, my life makes me sweat. Obviously being a mom and entrepreneur – I’m about my business. My kids jumping on me, I have to make sure they’re taken care of. I’m literally like an Uber driver now. So that part of life, plus getting ready for a live performance, or getting ready for an interview for live TV, all these things, they can make me sweat,” The songstress says.
“I just love Degreee because it really works, honestly. And obviously, the new collection Unlimited by Degree has super-antiperspirant technology, which is huge for if you have anxious sweat or when you sweat in general. Having that coverage and protection is really important.”