Rihanna and Miranda July
Have you read the Miranda July interview with Rihanna for T, The New York Times style magazine, yet? It’s delicious. Miranda makes you want to be Miranda…not Rihanna. Because, as we know, no one else can be Rihanna. But if only we could have the experience Miranda had with Rihanna, right?
Rihanna loved what Miranda was wearing.
Rihanna looked into Miranda’s eyes and was mesmerised.
Rihanna was interested in Miranda. Rihanna wanted to hang with Miranda. Rihanna HUGGED Miranda. We should all be Miranda. And ask Rihanna what she googles. When she first felt sexual. Why she’s not dating. And also Rihanna’s perspective on being a black businesswoman in a world where black businesswomen may not be welcome:
‘‘You know, when I started to experience the difference — or even have my race be highlighted — it was mostly when I would do business deals.’’ Business deals. Meaning that everyone’s cool with a young black woman singing, dancing, partying and looking hot, but that when it comes time to negotiate, to broker a deal, she is suddenly made aware of her blackness. ‘‘And, you know, that never ends, by the way. It’s still a thing. And it’s the thing that makes me want to prove people wrong. It almost excites me; I know what they’re expecting and I can’t wait to show them that I’m here to exceed those expectations.’’ She sounded like a young black professional trying to make it in the corporate world, and I guessed she was — just on a very different scale.
‘‘But I have to bear in mind,’’ she continued, looking right at the voice recorder, ‘‘that those people are judging you because you’re packaged a certain way — they’ve been programmed to think a black man in a hoodie means grab your purse a little tighter. For me, it comes down to smaller issues, scenarios in which people can assume something of me without knowing me, just by my packaging.
Think of what Jennifer Lawrence wrote about in Lenny and that expectation to be “liked”, often at the expense of asking for what’s fair. And then there’s Rihanna and the expectations and the assumptions she has to confront and overcome while also asking for what’s fair. These are two leaders who are willing to have this conversation and agitate for change. Again, here, I quote Frederick Douglass:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Click here to read Miranda July’s piece on Rihanna.