Of all the celebrities on Twitter this week, it’s been Rihanna’s account that’s generated the most activity and conversation. I wonder… does she expect it? Before she hits the post button, do you think she braces for the reaction? Or do you think she does what she does and doesn’t worry about what will happen after? As we have seen through the years, Rihanna is not just an entertainer. She’s become a fashion and beauty mogul. She’s her own brand. And she will not hesitate to add her voice, to use her platform to raise awareness. Here’s a recap of her week on Twitter.
On February first, the first day of Black History Month, she checked Daniel Cameron, Attorney General of Kentucky after he tweeted about Black History Month to celebrate the contributions of black men and women…even though there many people who believe he’s one of the reasons there’s been no justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman. Rihanna’s first tweet of Black History Month was to remind people about how Daniel Cameron has consistently been “the wrong one”.
The next day, there were two Rihanna tweets that got people’s attention – one more than the other, for sure, but the point is, she was amplifying two issues. After the military coup in Myanmar, Rihanna in sending her prayers and love, subtly encouraged her followers to keep an eye on the situation:
She also encouraged her followers to learn more and talk about the farmers protest in India. This is the tweet that has become an international incident:
A few hours later, Greta Thunberg weighed in, along with Kyle Kuzma and Juju Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also made a donation for medical assistance in support of farmers in need. Rihanna was then subsequently criticised by the Indian government and some Indian pro-government celebrities and you can imagine the hate she’s been getting by trolls on social media; they’re gross on a regular day, and after her tweet, the toxicity was exponentially intensified. I’m actually a little afraid of whatever blowback might happen now that I’m writing about this here.
But this is a blog about celebrity and the influence of celebrity. Rihanna is one of the biggest celebrities in the game and she’s using her celebrity to illuminate a story that otherwise wouldn’t show up on culture sites like this one. We talk a lot about our myopia here in the west, our lack of awareness about issues around the world. One of the most famous women in the world is asking people to know more along with her.
As for the farmers protest in India, Vox published a piece by Jariel Arvin on Wednesday about “why the Indian government is mad at Rihanna”. Within that piece are multiple links to other articles laying out the farmers’ case against the government’s controversial agricultural reforms and – PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THIS – also includes analysis from those who are defending the government’s legislation. I am slowly making my way through these links and reading as much as I can to inform myself about a situation that, frankly, I didn’t know all that much about until a few days ago. I’ve been speaking about it with colleagues who have also been asking more questions and trying to understand the issues since Rihanna tweeted about it. “Why aren’t we talking about this?!” is what she asked. Well, wasn’t that the point?
Yours in gossip,