Rihanna’s Badass Contribution to Society
Super star, Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty rules American media with her high-profile career as an artist, beauty mogul and fashion guru. In addition to her musical fame, her bold voice and passion for social activism makes Rihanna one of the greatest cultural influencers of our generation. In the wake of her controversial decision to reject the NFL’s offer to perform at the SuperBowl LLI, the public must give the star props for her lengthy history of being a total badass—from her socially charged music, to her inclusive business ventures and her progressive political actions.
Surprisingly, the superstar artist comes from humble beginnings. The Barbados-born singer was discovered by two American music producers in 2003 and her reggae style hit, “Pon de Replay,” blessed the public in 2005. Since blowing up the entire music industry, Rihanna has ruled as a music icon, showing us commoners what it really means to be #BadgirlRiRi. She is the youngest solo artist to score 14 number one singles on the billboard hot 100. She has also sold over 50 million albums and 210 million songs worldwide. If you don’t feel like a complete failure just yet, you should know she also has stacked 9 Emmy awards and banged out 7 platinum albums. We stan a literal queen.
It’s easy to admit that Rihanna can crank out some pretty sweet tunes, but the impact of her music goes beyond pop-conventions. Her music has also become known for its profound statements regarding racial discrimination, gender inequality, relationship abuse, and other social controversies. For instance, Rihanna released “American Oxygen” in 2015 in response to gender and racial inequality in corporate America. Her co-writer Sam Harris states, “There's a lot of turmoil going on in this country… I think we all have something to say about it.”
In another hit, “Love the way you lie,” Rihanna teamed up with rapper Eminem to raise awareness regarding domestic abuse, which she unfortunately faced herself. In fact, the Johns Hopkins University Press even published an article investigating the impact violence and domestic abuse has had on Rihanna’s music and career. The article discusses how her experience of domestic violence reshaped her musical identity, taking her Caribbean-infused R&B tunes to a sound which incorporated “acts of violence in intimate relations and sexual practices.” The song shocked a lot of fans, with Rolling Stone stating that it is, “her most provocative statement” regarding her tempestuous relationship with Chris Brown. Finally, in “S&M,” Rihanna scrutinizes the media’s ability to control and trail those of high power. “It's about the love-hate relationship with the media and how sometimes the pain is pleasurable,” quotes the singer in an article published by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Apart from using her music as a platform for change, Rihanna also created businesses inspired by a lack of inclusivity and unity among the cosmetic and fashion industries. Much to our delight, she created her makeup line, “Fenty Beauty,” in 2017 to fill a gap in the beauty world for women of color and people with unique skin tones (seriously, no one else had done that yet??). Her business was born after the bad girl noticed that the span of colors offered in many high-end makeup lines failed to include pigments which complimented a huge amount of skin tones, catering mostly to white women (surprise, surprise).
The celebrity then decided to design a foundation line with over 40 shades of foundation—a game changer in the cosmetic industry. But luckily for us, her mission for inclusivity did not just stop at makeup. Rihanna also graced the fashion industry with her wisdom by launching her lingerie brand “Rihanna Savage x Fenty” to create a line where both “straight and plus sizes” would be available. Her mission? “To just have women all over the world feel comfortable and sexy and have fun with lingerie.” Leave it to this queen to bring inclusivity to the world, one foundation and panty at a time!
Impressed yet? Good news, this still isn’t the end of Rihanna’s work as a social influencer.
Rihanna took social activism one step further in 2015 by protesting for LGBTQ+ rights at a concert in Indiana in response to the states Religious Freedom Restoration Act. She brazenly yelled to the audience “Fuck that shit!” in opposition to the law (which allowed for discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community). Then a major controversy broke out after the NFL suspended player Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem. The NFL’s decision to remove players triggered a huge amount of backlash, but Rihanna’s public snubbing of the NFL made it clear where she stood in this battle. An insider reveals, “she doesn’t agree with the NFL’s stance,” and her refusal to perform at the SuperBowl LL1 publicized the conflict further, drawing attention to the discrimination taking place in the U.S.
So yeah, Rihanna has pretty much done it all and with no apology. She is a leader of our generation; emphasizing the public's inherent right for equality and inclusivity. Additionally, her soul shows through her music, she uses confident lyrics to impact society, and her wildly successful businesses do more than just rake in the bills. They promote unity and inclusivity amongst all women. What could be a more perfect testament to the words Girl Power?
So consider this a thank you. To Rihanna as an artist, a queen, and fearless leader. Without her, the world would truly be a hopeless place.