Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

If you have spent the slightest amount of time on Black Twitter or Black Instagram since 2015, you have probably come across a tweet or IG post about Ciara.

And if you’ve seen a post about the singer/dancer/Russell Wilson muse—who dropped a new single and music video on Wednesday —you probably fall into one of three camps:

1) You are among the women in the first 300 replies asking her for the prayer that led to her romance with her superstar husband, as if she is deep in the comments and replying to any one of y’all;

2) You’re in the Future Hive and/or emit things like “I don’t trust these darkskins” and you have ashy lips; or

3) You don’t care about celebrity shenanigans, and if so, why is you here?

That’s it. There is no in-between.

Given that I’m not in the Future Hive, I’m not a self hater, my lips are moisturized and flourishing, and I’m writing this article about a celebrity, then yes, I may have at one time asked Ciara for her prayer. But more than feeling like I, too, can marry a man who potentially doubles as the spokesman for Christian Mingle, Ciara makes me proud.

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I’m happy for her like she’s that favorite cousin with whom I inevitably live out that Whitney Houston/Natalie Cole gif when we pull up at every family function.

you know the one
GIF: tenor.com

I feel an unreasonable affinity for Ciara for a lot of reasons. For one, quiet as it’s kept, home girl is tough. As the title of her single indicates, she has gone through the fire and still pushed through enough to hashtag Level Up.

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My favorite play cousin endured trials (an endless stream of fuckboys that just got progressively fuckboy-ier as she got older), tribulations (record label and management setbacks and poor album sales), and Future, which is a category unto itself. The latter of whom proved that, for some reason, people never get tired of harassing black women when black men fuck up.

It also helps that she’s a hometown hero who does dancing things. When Ciara debuted, I was busy doing chickenhead battles at college parties, and she became my dance inspiration. We’re both Atlanta girls and graduated high school in the same class. I would have sworn I was going to be a hybrid attorney/Ciara backup dancer. Literally, after I made plans to go to law school, I found out that Ciara’s entertainment lawyer was my classmate’s mom. Guess who was interning with the lawyer for the Princess of Crunk n’ B in her senior year of college and dreaming of days she could do that “Oh” body roll with her in the Waffle House parking lot just because that’s a thing we would do? I won’t say it’s me, but I won’t say it wasn’t me.

Beyond my own longstanding fandom for her dance talent, I—like I presume a lot of black women planning to marry—empathize with her relationship struggles and celebrate her success like a family member who makes me hella proud. It wasn’t just that Ciara recovered from a heartbreak, but she moved on in such sensational fashion.

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Russell Wilson, with whom she recently celebrated a two-year wedding anniversary, seems to have an endless well of love for his new family. He has embraced her son. He dotingly loves on his black wife. Oh, and he flies a helicopter; meanwhile my ass can barely walk in slides without tripping. Like, what else can you ask for?

Despite the assumption that women all lay around waiting and praying on a man to save them, Russell spilled his own tea during their anniversary trip suggesting that it was his prayer, not hers, that brought them together.

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I’m happy for Ciara not because a heteronormative relationship is the ultimate reward for womanhood but because black women deserve to be happy. We get so many attacks on our mere existence that this can be a challenge, and we’ll take all the wins, even if they’re not our own. Though Ciara has announced that she leveled up, the reality is that she found someone who would likely say the same about her.