Rihanna has been having a great year. Featured on Kendrick Lamar’s song Royalty, she proved herself a unique rapper with an irresistible flow, a rare accomplishment for a major singer. Could you imagine Katy Perry or Ariana Grande rapping on a song? Only Rihanna is capable of making the genre switch look so seamless.
Even feminist and hard-to-please cultural critic Camille Paglia called Rihanna the new Princess Diana back in 2013. Paglia praised Rihanna for refusing to allow pesky romantic triangles bring her down or confine her, and it seems that has held true. Turns out that Rihanna is just above that stuff.
Her 2009 hit, Umbrella, is a classic record. It features some of the brightest and most artistically solid pop music of the 2000s. Jay-Z’s opening declaration that she is a “good girl gone bad” introduced her with a royal decree, and throughout the video, Rihanna alternates between sex appeal, mystery, and feminine subtlety. Her last record, ANTI, is a foray into fractured experimental pop that was wildly successful, and proved that Rihanna is not content to stay in one place. Her song Work, as you well know as a living denizen of planet Earth, was a galaxy-tier hit all throughout 2016. But with all this shine, there are plenty of people out there trying to make her feel bad about herself. Rihanna is becoming thick, a phenomenon that her fans have called ‘Thickanna’. This has been going on all 2017, and Rihanna fans love it. And a few days ago, an Instagram video of Rihanna and her friends getting snacks at a convenience store has brought out the trolls who came just to mock her. Of course, (badgal commented) means that Rihanna herself commented on the image. Suffice to say, if Rihanna is too fat, then everyone on Earth is too fat. Absurdly unrealistic standards of physical fitness will indict absolutely everyone, and as you can tell from the above photos, only a true hater would see fit to troll her over made-up weight problems. What even is there to gain from criticizing celebrities’ bodies? I can understand criticizing them for political positions, or ideas they hold, or actions they’ve undertaken, but commenting online about a person’s body seems to just be a mode of blowing off steam that should be channeled elsewhere. William James, a 20th century philosopher and theorist of war, argued that war could be ended permanently if the aggressive impulses in humankind could be directed into a different medium. He argued that sports could serve to rid a society of its combative impulses.
In the modern world, that role could be occupied by video games. If young men with too much energy need a place to release it, they can certainly do better than harassing women online. Go fight an Octorok or play Street Fighter. Or even go outside and run around the block till you get too tired to type. As a last note, if you can’t get enough of Rihanna, I’m sure you’ve already seen her latest music video with Kendrick Lamar. But even if you have, I’m sure you want to see it again. She’s unapologetic about who she is, she suffers no fools, and she even laughs off a damn car crash.
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