When I first heard Rihanna made Time’s annual list of 100 most influential people, I wondered why. Maybe when she was a Good Girl Gone Bad and “Umbrella” and her short-back-and-sides haircut were sweeping the globe. Or even last year, with “S&M”, “Only Girl in the World” and her plagiarism lawsuits making headlines. But what has she done recently? (Okay, recently, she either snorted cocaine or rolled a joint off a bald man’s head and tweeted that she couldn’t give a shit, but I’m guessing Time’s list was finalised much earlier than those Coachella shenanigans.)
Whether I would have put her on the list or not is irrelevant: to many people she is extremely influential. And that’s a problem because of her public refusal to condemn Chris Brown for what he did to her. Not only that, but that she is actively collaborating with him on music. God only knows what they’re collaborating on in their personal lives.
Stella McCartney writes the blurb for Rihanna’s entry on the list (huh? Has Rihanna even worn a McCartney design recently?), saying she “goes out of her way to support the people she believes in… She’ll give a real part of herself…” I’m sure Brown would agree. McCartney goes on to write that “[s]he’s one of the coolest… most liked, most listened to, most followed… artists at work today… She gives to her fans, friends and foundation not just herself by her energy and spirit.” Indeed.
Rihanna’s always maintained that she’s not a role model and she’s not willing to be the spokesperson against domestic violence. That’s not something we, the public, should force on her, but working together on two tracks, calling Brown “the hottest R&B artist out right now”, and mouthing off to fans about how she doesn’t give a fuck about what they think of her is the polar opposite. Whether she likes it or not, people are looking to her to see what’s in and how to act.
Add to that the blatant drug use that she’s been flaunting all over Instagram and it’s very troublesome that Rihanna is so influential.
Related: Rihanna & Domestic Violence.
Elsewhere: [Time] Time 100: The List—Rihanna.