RIHANNA and CIARA, two feuding R&B/pop divas, have made no secret of their dislike for one another. Ironically, though, RIHANNA and CIARA share the same super star DNA. Neither are known for their stellar vocals, but both singers ooze sex appeal and are backed by major record labels.
Yet for some reason, RIHANNA has reached global mega-stardom while CIARA is fighting to stay afloat in the industry. CIARA, like RIRI, has all the makings of a star – she’s got the gorgeous face, killer body, an arsenal of R&B dance hits and can slay on the dance floor. Yet her decade long career has hit a plateau. So what’s CIARA’s missing ingredient?
CIARA stepped in as the princess of Crunk, kicking down the door with seductive booty poppin over MISSY ELLIOT’S electric funk-inspired dance beats. But the “Crunk” era fizzled out in the mid-2000’s. Then came “Promise,” a sexy, slithering 80’s inspired bedroom anthem that made us believe she had finally cemented her place. Apparently we were wrong.
With hiatus after hiatus, bad singles and lackluster promotion, it wasn’t long before CIARA had become an afterthought. Now that she’s on the promo trail for her fifth album, she’s had to show and prove to make us believers again.
RIHANNA, though her live vocal performances have been tolerable at best, captivates people with that certain something that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Sure, we get sick of her. We roll our eyes at her predictable, and sometimes childish, social media antics. But we’re always anticipating her next stunt. Her marketing team is armed with influential heavy hitters like JAY-Z and Roc Nation, legendary record exec Evan Rogers, and endorsements from the likes of MAC Cosmetics, Nivea and now Budweiser. It’s not so much the talent we’ve been sold on, but the belief that she’s the “it” girl. She storms each year with a new album, a new look and is ever reinventing herself. Her element of mystery is spellbinding. These days that’s what makes a star – talent sold separately.
Catfighting aside, you tend to realize one thing – they’re not the same artist and perhaps aren’t really competing for the same thing. CIARA, in her truest element, is hardcore R&B while RIHANNA is pure pop. The negative side of the coin is that urban media has transformed their beef into a platform of endless comparisons. Bloggers nowadays make a sport out of dissing CICI – painting her as a has-been, a flop, a RIHANNA carbon-copy; everything but the true star she is. That, in itself, goes to show just how persuasive marketing is. We’re so quick to judge the package before testing the product.
The product, her latest album “Ciara,” is ten times better than what many of us expected it to be, and dare we say filled with more artistry than her nemesis. Inspired by the new love in her life, or just her growth as an artist, CIARA is worthy of the recognition that it’s receiving and the sales show it. Selling 57,000 copies in the first week, the album is now #2 on the charts, coming in behind JAY-Z’s widely-praised project “Magna Carter Holy Grail.”
While both ladies offer a certain flavor, let’s big up the strides that CIARA has made in her career. We’ve watched her figure it all out right before our eyes and after much trial and error, she’s found her signature sound, look and style. Not every artist can get knocked down and get back up as many times as CICI has. Perhaps resilience, not marketing, is the true ingredient that breeds legends.