By: DeJoné Miles
As a young Black woman who loves hip hop culture and crusades for Black Love, Russell Wilson’s marriage proposal to Ciara hits a nerve, but in a good way. After publicly dating her and son in the wake of Ciara’s less than flattering breakup with ex-fiancée and rapper Future, Russell put a ring on it. Just like everyone else, I have been watching the story of Ciara’s love life unfold, thanks to multiple media outlets. However, not only are well-established entertainment news outlets like The Breakfast Club and TMZ reporting on Ciara’s love life, but everyday people on their personal social network accounts are too.
Of course, in the day of celebrity reality TV and celebrity gossip as breaking news, hearing about celebrity’s love lives is not uncommon; in fact, one could say it is the norm. But this recent story to the Ciara-Russell-Future saga is more than that. Some people are hating, of course, but more importantly others are actually praising Ciara’s, now second public engagement, this time to Russell Wilson.
Speculators are crediting this “proper courtship” to Ciara’s learned wisdom in choosing a different type of man — a “better”, more fitting man– and the posts are going viral with thousands of likes and shares. There is a powerful message to the millennial generation with this engagement, which has made me catch a revelation. Fortunately, the dialogue that has been created around the “good guy vs. bad boy” type alluded to in rapper Wale’s 2013 song “Bad” about wanting romantic partners that aren’t good for us has come full circle with Ciara’s publicized love life.
The gentleman-type being celebrated and not the bad boy has tickled my fancy so. I mean, to be honest, I am very titillated at the public response to Ciara and Russell’s engagement, specifically in the Black community. Maybe because I am actually surprised, yet happy that not just Black women, but also Black men are acknowledging that the choice of the bad boy type versus the gentleman has consequences and destiny that we have control over.
The key to this control is the will to power in choosing partners who are good for us in whole not just our wild side. We have been seeing the bad boy types, be it in the media or your college dorm, get the dream girl and “treat her ass like a nominee” over and over and over. Meaning, often desirable young Black men (the bad boy types in this case), date a good woman, often with no intention to be serious, then use and abuse her before moving on to the next one without consequence.
More commonly in these situations bad boys are embraced and even praised for their misogynistic behavior. So much so that in my social circle of twenty-something girlfriends the notion that getting a Black man to even entertain a relationship despite his red flags get overlooked for the sake of protecting our egos and quieting our fears of loneliness and failure. Giving time to bad boys who will be of no good consequence has become our reality whether we want to admit it or not.
This normalization of unhealthy Black relationships, which has been deemed as The Bryson Tiller Effect makes for a catchy tune, but unfortunately many broken-hearted girls and Ciara’s story can teach us a lesson or five.
Lesson 1: Bad boys are fun for playtime, nothing more
As crooned in Wale’s song Bad, we all know that the bad (girls) boys ain’t no good, and the good (girls) guys ain’t no fun. Well, that’s not fair! What is a girl to do? No matter how you try to slice the pie, you know a bad boy when you see him and you know the likely results that will follow. That guy will give you a rush of adrenaline and you will feel like the good girl gone bad with your hair blowing in the wind aback his motorcycle, but don’t let that fleeting moment of fun ruin your life.
We know that girls just want to have fun and there is nothing wrong with that. Here is the key, though. That guy trying to pick you up at the bar that reminds you of the ex- that broke your heart is your intuition ringing the alarm. Take the hint and leave him at the club. Bad boys will ruin your life if you let him so… don’t.
Lesson 2: A good man will wait for you
In the age of Netflix and chill and we meet today and hook up today it is not a wonder that many of us question if waiting to have sex until marriage is even realistic. Well, Hollywood couple Meagan and Devon Franklin has publicly shared their success story and have hit the road monetizing the Wait movement at that. Now we have Ciara and Russell Wilson for setting yet another example.
Therefore, if these two very attractive men in industries with uber temptation and opportunity can still wait, so can JoJo from the break room if he values you. If you don’t know your worth and set your standard a guy will not do it for you. Granted, marriage is not for everyone, but if you value marriage and you regard sex as a sacred thing between wedded partners then stick to your guns and only deal with men who respect that and accepts your morals.
Lesson 3: You can receive true love after heartbreak
The guy that you thought was “the one” who you would spend the rest of your natural born life with turned out to be a fraud. Yes, you fell for the false-messiah, it happens to the best of us. There are women who have broken engagements or even gotten divorced after going all the way and realizing who they thought was Mr. Right was really Mr. Wrong in espionage. Or maybe you were on a high of the thrill and caught feelings against your best judgment.
You know now and hopefully have sent him packing his bags to the left, to the left. You will be just fine. Ciara has shown us that no matter how horrible the situation ended you can find love after heartbreak. Even Evelyn Lozada has found love again after a bad breakup with whom she thought was her soul mate. You are not damaged goods. Heal yourself and release the soul tie. Part of Ciara’s therapy came out in a song, one that you too can sing along to. Through her declaration in that song she manifested her somebody better. Accept your past as a lesson for your present, so that you don’t lose out and settle with your future, no pun intended.
Lesson 4: Good guys might finish last, but they finish
Any man can woo you, pretend to care, get you to trust him, even fool you into a marriage, but even a marriage proposal can prove to be a fraud when it ends in a broken engagement or even a divorce. Dating and courting is a stage before commitment for a reason. This is the time you vet a man to gauge his intentions and if he is a fit for you.
In the beginning everyone talks a good game with the potential to have you head over hills. At the end of the day you want to be with a man who is a finisher. A shady man who is looking for one thing that you have in their benefit can talk a good game, play a Oscar-worthy role, and fake it until he makes it to his ultimate goal with you then it’s over and you are left to pick up the pieces.
Good guys start off with good intentions and keeps in mind your best interest at heart as they court you for marriage. If you are a wife-minded woman you need to be dealing with husband-minded men. A man who is out to for his own good versus a man who is out for the greater good of you and him has to be vetted out, understand the difference.
Lesson 5: Admit what you want
As a maturing woman I know to steer clear of any man that resembles a disposition who thinks that “chicken wings and fries, we don’t go on dates” from the popular Future and Drake Jumpman song is okay, no shade though. When it comes to the good guy or the bad boy, Rae Sermmurd said it best, “I’ont have no type.” Okay I lied, but all jokes aside, type or no type, the bottom line is to decide what you want. You’re type is dependent on what you are looking for.
On an episode of the Wendy Williams Show, Wendy shaded Ciara for attempting to sue ex-fiancée Future by saying that what they had should have never gotten to an engagement to begin with. In Wendy’s reference, “I like Future, but that should’ve been a drive-by.” A drive-by is a fun thing not a love thing during that time in your life where you are not looking for a commitment. When you are dating for fun not love, then a bad boy may be okay for the time being, but beware and enter with caution.
Now, a girl like Ciara, who had dated several men before baby-daddy Future, was clearly in the mind frame of settling down. Future on the other hand was not at that place, clearly. Neither is a bad thing, a man has a right to be single as long as he pleases, as does women. The two prerogatives are only dangerous when both parties get together thinking they can work their differing agendas out. The outcome 9 times out of ten is this: welcome to Heartbreak Hotel.
For whatever reason, beautiful well-to-do women are expected to be in relationships and, I, for one have felt the pressure of this unspoken social expectation since my last relationship in college… four years ago, womp. For me and many other young professional women like me, I’m not opposed to dating and relationships, but just thinking about the dating pool used to make me cringe.
I’ll qualify that last statement by adding that I used to cringe at the dating pool when I regarded all truth in what men have to offer according to contemporary hip hop music and popular culture today. As a coming of age young woman it can be a challenge to decide what you want in your romantic life. Everyone has their opinion of what you should be doing in your twenties.
I have heard everything from don’t get too serious and just have fun, you’re too young to settle down to prodding questions asking if I have a boyfriend and why not. Then as woman we have our own voices in our heads terrorizing us about this biological ticking clock and putting our romantic life on a timeline that most likely will not come true. So, the bottom line is this, admit what you want.
Your love story starts with you. You will not attract a husband if you are telling yourself and everyone else that you’re not looking for anything serious. Guess what you will get someone who is not serious. If you really are not looking to be serious make sure you don’t get caught slipping on ya pimping and go from boo-thang to boo-boo the fool. You have to know yourself and live your life accordingly.