Ciara released some visuals last weekend to accompany the release of her second single in recent months.
After the success of “Level Up” — with the song, video and #challenge hitting viral status — Ciara is following up with a slower, smoother Afrobeats track called “Freak Me,” featuring Nigerian star Tekno.
Shot in South Africa, likely during her recent anniversary trip with her husband Russell Wilson, the visuals Ciara released on social media are a beautiful celebration of African aesthetics.
The first part of those visuals showcase an African-print clad Ciara dancing and whining with South African dancers on the streets of the Johannesburg neighborhood of Soweto. She is even seen hitting the famous Gwara Gwara!
In a second clip, a skimpily clad Ciara shows off a tribal-inspired outfit while hitting killer dance moves (and body!) in a desert sunset.
And although the song excited some in America when it dropped on Friday (Nicki Minaj’s “Queen” stole the weekend), here on the continent, African women were overjoyed by sharing and celebrating the visuals amongst themselves. It was clear: Ciara’s brand of black girl joy, simply dancing with her friends, hit a nerve with women on the continent.
Of course, this is not the first time an American artist has used Africa as the setting for their videos. Ludacris famously declared “that the best women all reside in Africa” while shooting 2009’s “Pimpin’ All Over The World” in South Africa. Solange showed off the color-bursting sapeur culture of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the visuals for 2012’s “Losing You”, again shot in South Africa. And more recently, Omarion’s “Distance” video in 2017 showcased South Africa’s beautiful landscapes and cultures. All their videos received major play across the continent for months.
But Cici’s visuals, even though nothing official has been released, feel different.
Here, our women weren’t over-exoticized (too much!), over-sexualized or over-fictionalized for the western lense. Ciara was simply our homegirl having a good time in an aesthetic that we could recognize. One that felt like home.
She was dancing the dances that we created to our infectious beats, singing with our artists, wearing threads inspired by our clothes, and doing it all on our land. She even made sure to shout out Nigerian Afrobeats singer Tiwa Savage as inspiration for the song.
And as Ciara continues to mastermind her full comeback, the continent is happy to have been included, even if briefly, in that spotlight.