9 Times Rihanna Reminded Us Of What Being A Strong Independent Woman Really Is Like
Maybe you’ve been a ride or die since Pon de Replay and Unfaithful. Perhaps you belong to the generation who ugly cried and made cringy grunge posts on Tumblr to the lyrics of Stay. It could also be you just really, really, really love dancing to Wild Thoughts (I mean, nakey, nakey, nakey?). Or you might be the type that only after the launching of Fenty Beauty realised what an amazing, powerful and beautiful ICON Robyn Rihanna Fenty is – statistically, we have to believe such people as a strong independent woman exist.
And why do we refer to her as iconic? It isn’t only because she had our 12-year old selves singing about BDSM way before we even knew what that meant (Jesus Christ, millennials, what’s wrong with us?), but also because she is a wonderful role model to every little girl – and little boy, ’cause why not – out there. Rihanna has been through real hardship: she has been judged, abused and undermined… and yet she has become the strong independent woman that inspires us today. So let’s remember the 9 times Rihanna reminded us what being a strong independent woman is really like!
1. “I’m Not Looking For A Man, Let’s Start There”
If there is someone who doesn’t take sexist crap from journalists, that’s Rihanna. Even though more and more celebrities are getting better at spotting inappropriate questions usually aimed at female artists – examples of this could be Benedict Cumberbatch snapping at a journalist who had insulted Keira Knightley during their joint interview, or Mark Ruffalo answering the sexist questions Scarlett Johanson always puts up with – the most iconic moment of this sort was the one RiRi starred at her Rogue Man fragrance launch. One of the reporters there asked the Bajan singer whether she was dating anyone at the moment, and her answer was quick and simple: I’m not looking for a man, let’st start there.
2. Here For EVERY Woman
Being inclusive and being aware of the importance of representation is key to any beauty brand nowadays. This is good… until big companies begin taking advantage of people’s need to see themselves represented and turn inclusion into a marketing trend. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, on the other hand, embraced inclusivity from day one. Representation is part of the brand’s identity, and that is exactly why it’s been such a success. By giving every woman the chance to feel beautiful, Fenty Beauty has outperformed Kat Von D Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics. This is what happens what happens when you’re a strong independent woman ladies!
3. Work, Work, Work
Let’s have a look at everything RiRi has been doing over the past few years: she has launched Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty, she has starred in Ocean’s 8 (2018), Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017), and she’s voiced the adorable Tip for the animated movie Home (2015), all of this while still dropping amazing singles like Bitch Better Have My Money, Needed Me and Work. She is BUSY and she is THRIVING. And the best of it? By doing this she is proving to all her fans that you don’t need a romantic partner by your side in order to have a happy and successful life.
4. “They’re Covered In Swarovski Crystals Girl!”
Whoever thought it was a good idea to accuse Rihanna of objectifying herself and being a bad influence to her young fans after she wore that sheer Adam Selman dress at CFDA Fashion Awards in 2014 definitely didn’t know a single thing about objectification or about the Bajan singer. RiRi is unapologetic, that’s true, but she knows damn well if there’s one thing she should NOT be apologising about, that’s her body. She made that crystal – lol – clear when a reporter questioned her look: “Do my tits bother you? They’re covered in Swarovski crystals, girl!”
5. Do No Harm But Take No Shit Queen
Rihanna is easily one of the chillest celebrities out there. For real, she goes out and has fun like every damn human being, but there is usually no drama – or at least none that comes from her – and most of the time she prefers to find moments to hang out with her super adorable niece, Majesty. However, everyone should know better than pissing this queen off. When Snapchat made that Would You Rather? game, featuring a very, very, very inappropriate question that gave users the options of “slapping Rihanna” or “punching Chris Brown”, what the hell where they thinking? The singer immediately voiced her opinion on the subject and condemned Snapchat for shaming domestic violence victimes. The company lost £650m afterwards, oops!
6. “I Will Wait Forever If I Have To”
In an interview for Vanity Fair in 2015, Rihanna opened up about her own struggles with dating, partly caused by the pressure of being a celebrity, partly caused by men being “afraid to be men”. She tackled open masculinity even before the concept became mainstream, saying men wouldn’t be affectionate to their girls in front of other guys in the fear of appearing “soft”. Because of this, RiRi promised she would not settle for just any guy, and she would “wait forever” if that’s what it takes for a man she can actually connect with to show up.
That was 3 years ago and today the artists remains true to her words, staying focused on her career, her family and herself, and teaching all her fans a valuable lesson: don’t just date for the sake of dating and don’t settle for people who don’t deserve you – even if society and the media keeps pressuring you to do so (yes, Drake, I’m looking at you).
7. “Cuz I’m Black, Bitch!”
If you’re following all the news surrounding Fenty Beauty’s newest launches, you may have heard about FlyLiner, which dropped July 6th in the US. We might not have gotten it yet, but we already have one big reason to love it: the black liquid liner named, yep, “Cuz I’m Black”. A bit of history might be needed here: in 2011, after Rihanna released the single Man Down and posted an image of the cover on Twitter, a Twitter user had the very bad idea of commenting “Why does her hair look so nappy?” To which Ri quickly replied: “Cuz I’m black, bitch!” There is no way the singer could have known then her response would become such a great moment in the Twitterverse history, but by naming one her eyeliners after that answer, she is going back to her roots and teaching the fandom never to be ashamed or apologetic about the way they look. We love a strong independent woman like that!
In 2015, basketball player Matt Barnes implied to TMZ that he and RiRi were dating. RiRi did not like this and called him out on his bullshit with a series of hilarious hashtags accompanying the infamous video on Instagram: #bishwhere, #thedevilisaliar and #shesneverevenmetyou are still our favourites. Even though Barnes still stands by his side of the story, the way Rihanna dealt with the very awkward situation set an example for all of us common people who have to put up with embarrassing rumours in high school or college, which might never reach the tabloids, but are annoying nonetheless: instead of remaining quiet and passive, call them out and if you’re even able to make it funny, they won’t mess with you again. If you want to date Ri go and tell her, man, don’t wait for her to hear you fancy her on TV! This is one of the best strong independent woman moments Rihanna has showcased!
9. Rihanna, Harvard’s Humanitarian of The Year
She calls herself a Bad Gal, but “Bad” here needs a redefinition, because Rihanna’s activism and charitable work speak of a generous woman, whose fortune and success haven’t made her blind to the suffering and hardship less fortunate people go through. This is why, last year, Rihanna was honoured by Harvard University with the Humanitarian of the Year award, which recognised her involvement in the building of a breast cancer screening and treatment in her hometown of Bridgetown, Barbados. In 2012, the singer founded the Clara Lionel Foundation, named after the singer’s grandparents. The foundation supports and funds education, health and emergency response programs around the world. Becoming successful to make the world a better place… that’s the kind of strong independent woman we want to be!
What other iconic Rihanna moments do you think make her a strong independent woman? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Journalism student from City, University of London. Originally from the Canary Islands. I am super enthusiastic about women rights, arts, fashion and everything that involves learning and growing as a person.
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