Who Is She
Though deeply affected by her father’s drug and alcohol abuse and her parents’ eventual divorce, Robyn Fenty retained a sunny disposition and continued to nurture her talent. She met a talent scout who sent her to New York City to audition for rap mogul, Jay-Z and he refused to let her leave without signing a record deal. She decided to go by her middle name and Rihanna was officially born. Only The Beatles and Mariah Carey have more #1 singles to their credit than Rihanna. She has become a fashion icon, known for changing her look on a whim. Her fragrances, clothing lines and endorsements, combined with her colossal social media presence, have made her one of the most famous people in the world. She has collaborated with everyone from Coldplay to Eminem to Kanye West to Sir Paul McCartney. And she has accomplished all of this at the age of 27.
What Are Her Messages
Rihanna’s music often lines up with her shifting fashion trends, hopping from breezy island reggae to pounding electro-synth pop, from hardcore hip-hop to minimal R&B. And her lyrics and messaging are just as dizzying. One moment, she’s “choosing to be happy” on “Diamonds” and the next, she “likes the way it hurts” on “Love The Way You Lie”. Songs like “Rude Boy”, “What’s My Name” and “Birthday Cake” are lewd, raunch-filled romps through the dancehall. But then “Stay”, “California King Bed” and “Farewell” are gorgeous, tender ballads with emotional heft. To call her messaging mixed would be an understatement. Her physical altercation with former boyfriend, Chris Brown, seemed to be a turning point in her career and life. Often quoted as not wanting to be a role model, she nonetheless found herself in the unenviable position of being watched as she dealt with a horrific situation. Understandably bristled, she at first tried to brush it off by being tough, followed by a stint of wanting only happiness, all of this reflected in the content of her albums. She finally arrived at a balance between the two, publicly forgiving, but leaving Brown and asking the public to move forward with her from the past. Perhaps her messages are best encapsulated in her brutally honest song, “Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary”. In it, she sings, “Mother Mary, I swear I wanna change / Mr. Jesus, I’d love to be a queen / But I’m from the left side of an island / I never thought this many people would even know my name”.
What Does A Youthworker Need2Know
Almost everyone in the free world has heard a Rihanna song at some point in their lifetime. Hits like “Umbrella” and “We Found Love” have become more like cultural touchstones than songs. So, familiarity with her is important and can be a useful tool for communicating with students. Rihanna’s attitude of rebellion and free thinking is made apparent not only in her music, but on her massive social media accounts. Though much of her music can be inappropriate, she, herself is an incredible catalyst for youth workers to discuss a myriad of relevant topics including, but not limited to domestic violence, Biblical sexuality, rebellion, healthy relationships and the desire to be loved. Interestingly, Rihanna can often be found posting scriptures and quotes from Christian authors to her various social media platforms, so she clearly knows about God. When Glamour UK asked her how she remains fearless, she responded by saying, “Remembering what's important in life and understanding that we are individuals with our own relationship to God. When that's clear, it's difficult to be bothered by what people think.”
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