Barbadian mogul Rihanna Robyn Fenty continues to amaze the world with her multiple businesses, unyielding candor, and commitment to her people. As the face of Vogue’s November 2019 cover, the “Unapologetic” singer and fashion icon delivered a no-holds-barred interview - particularly when politics was discussed.
When asked if she really turned down the Super Bowl LIII’s halftime show to stand in solidarity with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, her response was clear and simple: “Absolutely.”
“I couldn’t dare do that,” she continued. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
Since Vogue released the interview, many publications have speculated that Rihanna was subtly calling her protégée, Jay-Z, a sell-out.
The rapper and Roc Nation founder, a record label under which Rihanna is signed, has been the recipient of serious backlash after agreeing to partner with the NFL after years of protest.
Following Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem to bring awareness to the brutal injustices Black people face beneath the flag, Jay-Z was a mainstay in supporting Kaepernick’s cause.
As The Fader reported, Jay-Z went from shouting out Kaepernick at concerts in 2015 to wearing Kap’s jersey on SNL and even turning down the Super Bowl in 2017, to now making a deal with the NFL - one that seems to benefit Jay-Z more than the cause he initially stood for.
The partnership between the NFL and Roc Nation has manifested in the Inspire Change nonprofit. With an apparel line and concerts, one can only assume a lot of money is to be made with the endeavor. But Jay-Z has defended his decision to collaborate with the very organization he once protested.
As a proud immigrant who’s been vocal about the failures of immigration policy, Rihanna went on to share with Vogue her thoughts on Trump pertaining to the fatal Walmart shooting in El Paso:
“It is devastating. People are being murdered by war weapons that they legally purchase. This is just not normal. That should never, ever be normal. And the fact that it’s classified as something different because of the color of their skin? It’s a slap in the face. It’s completely racist.
“Put an Arab man with that same weapon in that same Walmart and there is no way that Trump would sit there and address it publicly as a mental health problem. [...] Um… Donald, you spelled terrorism wrong!”
Rihanna exemplifies what it means to stay committed to a cause and to your people, no matter what perks come with opposing it. Her latest confirmation that she indeed turned down the NFL further affirms this.