Before we get incessant heat for calling out Rihanna, let’s get this out of the way—we love Riri and have constantly admired the way she chooses to stand her ground despite the norm. The Barbados-born singer single-handedly sent Indian media into a frenzy when she tweeted about the farmer’s protest back in 2021. Her star power is unmatched and she is known for using it the right way. This is why it unpleasantly shocked us when the beauty moghul chose to cast actor Johnny Depp in her latest Savage X Fenty lingerie show.
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The Pirates of the Caribbean actor, who is still pretty much publicly feuding with his ex-wife Amber Heard over allegations of defamation and domestic violence, walked the ramp on hip-hop duo Outkast’s track “So Fresh, So Clean” (yes, the irony of this isn’t lost on us). Dressed in an olive green Savage X Fenty Set, Johnny emerges from the shadows in a forest and proudly struts with confidence, as the background dancers hype him up—almost like he’s taking a victory lap.
Rihanna has been a girl’s girl for as long as we can remember. Her attempt at inclusivity and diversity through her beauty and fashion brands is one of the major reasons for its sky-rocketing success. To watch her give a platform to a powerful man, who isn’t out in the clear after a long civil battle, almost feels unnecessary and anti-feministic. Especially because the jury found both, Johnny and Amber guilty of defamation—they’re just paying different level of fees on different accounts. However, the verdict has been assumed as a win for the latter and patriarchy across the world has left no stone unturned in celebrating him. Even powerful brands like Dior and Disney continue to back him despite the lack of clarity on the matter. On the other hand, Amber has lost all lustrous projects, sold her California home and moved away to Spain.
Celebrities aren’t often held to a high moral code because of their biases, but Rihanna hasn’t been afraid to call a spade a spade. With this move, Rihanna has put her position in jeopardy. While being an ally to an alleged perpetrator may be new for Riri, controversies around her creative direction with regard to Savage X Fenty or culturally appropriating a religion aren’t unfamiliar. Here are 5 instances where Rihanna got into trouble for the same.
1. Rihanna Used An Islamic Verse As Music For A Savage X Fenty Show
Rihanna received intense backlash online for using the song Doom by artist Coucou Chloe, which includes a Muslim text known as a Hadith (A Hadith is part of a collection of texts believed to be the spoken words of the Prophet Muhammad). Although it was an honest mistake, netizens were quick to call her “careless” and “irresponsible”, as religion is not an aesthetic and a basic form of research would have saved her from this mishap.
2. Rihanna’s Topless Pose While Wearing A Ganesh Statue
While posing in her Savage X Fenty lavender shots, Rihanna came under fire for wearing a Lord Ganesha pendant in an inappropriate manner. The Love on the Brain singer was accused of appropriating the Hindu religion and hurting the sentiments of those who follow it. The Grammy winner hasn’t removed the image to date and it continues to be a sore point for many.
3. Rihanna’s Photoshoot At A Mosque In Abu Dhabi
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In 2013, Rihanna was in UAE and like every other tourist she visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. But unlike any other tourist, as per reports, Rihanna was asked to leave after she clicked a few ‘inappropriate photos’ at the mosque.
4. Rihanna’s Sanskrit Hip Tattoo
In 2007, Rihanna got a Sanskrit prayer from the Bhagavad Gita, which should translate to “forgiveness, honesty, suppression, and control” done on her hip. Unfortunately, the misspelt tattoo actually says, “Long-suffering, truthfulness, self-restraint, inward calm, fear, and fearlessness.” Right from its placement of it to the spelling error, Rihanna’s butt tattoo was hurtful towards the Hindu community that holds these scriptures in high regard.
5. Rihanna Styled Hijabs With Lingerie
In October 2018, for one of her first Savage X Fenty show, Rihanna dressed popular Dutch-Muslim model Bella Hadid in bright yellow lingerie but styled it with a headdress that resembled a hijab. Popular known as a modest cover for Muslims across the world, a hijab is considered a garb of respect—pairing it with skimpy lingerie on a Muslim model was wrong on so many levels.
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