Recently on Summer Walker’s new album Still Over It there was a narration by Ciara titled Ciara’s Prayer. In the narration, Ciara talks to God asking and manifesting someone that deserves her. Someone that treats her as she should be treated. The narration is nice, Ciara is not on her hands and knees begging for any man to come into her life, she is genuinely asking God to surround her with people, and hopefully one specific romantic person to enrich her life. We all should want people who are actually good for us to come into our lives. And while self-love, friend love, familial love, etc are not consolation prizes or secondary to romantic love, they are not the same. Everyone, especially Black women should be allowed to want romantic love. Sometimes it feels as though almost everyone except Black women are allowed to say they want romantic love, but we aren’t. We aren’t allowed to feel lonely we are just told “love yourself queen!” or “you a bad bitch niggas ain’t shit!” when that actually doesn’t change the fact that we want to love and be loved. Romantic love is important too. And out of everyone, don’t we deserve it? Don’t we deserve to be treated like we are precious by a romantic partner? Don’t we deserve for it to be easy? Don’t we deserve someone to kiss the ground we walk on? Don’t we deserve it? Don’t we deserve to ask for it? Especially when as a group we are shown so little of it.
At the same time, this narrative of Black women praying for romantic love… and us being the only ones who do it. Doing this so much that Ciara’s prayer became not only a joke amongst us but a secret we begged for. It makes me wonder, would we still want Ciara’s prayer if she did not have Russell Wilson? If Ciara did not have a man who to the general public treats her lovingly after all she’s been through. If she was single but just as happy, would we ask for her prayer? I’m not sure we would, I don’t know if we as society or as Black women value Black women who are happy on their own and refuse to be mistreated. In Ciara’s prayer, she says “there is purpose in my pain” why have we all become so comfortable with that purpose being Russell Wilson? With that purpose becoming for us a romantic partner?
In the prayer, Ciara says “I’m a queen I deserve to be treated like one, I’m a warrior I will get up”. And while I’m all here for Black women being treated like queens, how terrible that it has come to the point where we have to view love and relationships like a battlefield. Dating as a woman, especially as a Black woman is…. well to put it nicely ghetto as hell. Misogynoir and desirability politics make it so that we sometimes feel like we’ll never find someone who loves us like we deserve. The way everyone talks about us, the way Black men talk about us, the way we so rarely see Black love that doesn’t require us settling, it makes the kind of love Ciara appears to have seemed like a miracle.
But we don’t need a miracle to deserve to be loved, we are not hard to love. We should not have to pray for someone to appreciate us, we should not have to pray to be easily loved out loud, we should not have to pray for someone who brings good to our life. I don’t blame Black women for this, all we want is to be loved. We can work on loving ourselves all day but that has not changed the dating culture we are stuck in. We have gotten to the point where we believe we have to get on our knees and pray for romantic love. That’s pitiful. We are praying prayers, buying books, listening to podcasts, etc to try to figure out what it is that we aren’t doing right. When we haven’t done jack shit wrong. Wondering what it is we need to do, what standards we need to give up on, what state we need to move to find better partners. It’s terrible and it is mainly us who do this, who walk around feeling so unlovable because of the actions of others, losing love for ourselves, having to find our self worth again and again, and a-fucking-gain because it is continuously being obliterated by people who weren’t even worthy enough to approach us. So I ask Black women, do we need Ciara’s prayer? Or is it something else?
Sydney Turner is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Sydney believes in the power of Black women of every background and is invested in bringing attention to our unique perspective on important topics. You can follow Sydney on instagram @syd_pie11.