We've seen celebrities criticized for their marriage comments before, but for Ciara, a two-word hashtag and a video were all it took. On Sunday, she reposted a video on Instagram (and in a now-deleted tweet) with the tag #LevelUp. The clip included a quote from John Gray (shown in the video), which read, "Too many women want to be married but you're walking in the spirit of 'girlfriend.'"
Between the sentiment of the video and the implications of Ciara's "#LevelUp. Don't Settle." caption, it didn't take long for a debate to crop up across social media.
On Twitter, writer Cici Adams wrote, "Ciara is doing what many women do when they overcome trials and get married. She’s using her marital status as a weapon against women who are not married. And it’s clear that she’s tied her value and sense of self worth to her marriage, otherwise she wouldn’t have shared that."
The comments weren't all negative, though. Ciara's post got a lot of love (including over a million 'likes') on Instagram. One user, Michelle Smith, said, "I agree #Levelup. Be a wife before you [get] married so when you become married you just real in what you already are. Nobody can complete you, you must be complete before meeting up."
Even though much of her fan base agreed with the video's sentiment, and defended her against those who didn't, Ciara clarified with another post, saying, "I was once that girl wanting to be loved a certain way bit was making the wrong choices. I found myself at my lowest moment. I was a single mom sitting at home, and then I realized that the perfect love I was looking for was how God loves me, how He wants me to be loved, and who He was calling me to be as a mom and a woman. That’s when I realized married or not married… I needed to love myself. #LevelUp"
Although some might have expected her follow-up to include some sort of apology for any offense that was taken, the message had none. She appears to stand by the sentiment of the original post, clarifying only that she had to make personal changes in order to accept the right love (Russell Wilson's love) into her life.