Rihanna: ‘Racism is alive everywhere. Everywhere. It’s the same [in the UK]‘

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (C) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) stand with Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom, Janice Charette, as they leave after their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitalit

Rihanna covers the May issue of British Vogue. She arrived hours late to the interview, and then she sat there and talked to the Vogue lady for hours, as the sun came up. I don’t think people really appreciate the fact that Rihanna is literally a vampire – she stays up all night, she only sleeps in “pockets” for a few hours here and there, and she never goes out of her way to eat “healthy” food (much like a vampire). Rihanna presumably intended this cover interview to be timed for promoting her new album. But Rihanna won’t say when the album is happening, so here we are. Thankfully, she’s got like five other multi-billion-dollar industries around her too – Fenty Beauty, Savage X Fenty lingerie, her Fenty clothing line and everything else. You can read the full interview here. Some highlights:

She loves Mexico: “I just love Mexico. I really need to do my DNA test.” Her mother, Monica, was an immigrant to the Caribbean island from Guyana, the former British colony in South America. Rihanna tells me that Guyanese immigrants were unpopular in Barbados when she was growing up. “The Guyanese are like the Mexicans of Barbados. So I identify – and that’s why I really relate and empathise with Mexican people or Latino people, who are discriminated against in America. I know what it feels like to have the immigration come into your home in the middle of the night and drag people out.”

Her new album:
“I can’t say when I’m going to drop. But I am very aggressively working on music. I don’t want my albums to feel like themes. There are no rules. There’s no format. There’s just good music, and if I feel it, I’m putting it out… I feel like I have no boundaries. I’ve done everything – I’ve done all the hits, I’ve tried every genre – now I’m just, I’m wide open. I can make anything that I want.”

She wants people to buy black:
“Being the first black woman to lead a luxury house, especially under LVMH, it was a huge deal to see him just encourage people to buy black. I felt connected to it, and knowing why really made me feel like there’s no way I can ignore this.”

Living in London. It’s given her a different perspective on the global struggle against racism and injustice. “I think police brutality is probably extremely severe in America, but racism is alive everywhere. Everywhere. It’s the same [in the UK]. It’s either blatant, which is becoming more and more of a norm, or it’s underlying, where people don’t even know they’re being obvious about it. You know, it’s just a subconscious layer that’s embedded from their entire core.”

She only hangs out with the fanciest crowds in London: “I like it because they’re too bougie to give a sh-t about me. When I walk into those places, I am invisible. And nothing makes me feel better than being invisible.”

She’s single, 32 years old and feeling herself: “Since I turned 32, I’m realising life is really short. You don’t have a lot of time to tolerate sh-t, you know? You put so much on your plate. When you’re overwhelmed, you need to start cutting things out. And I’m overwhelmed too much.What’s happening now is that I’m going back to black and white. My grey area is shutting down….I’m working like this now so that I don’t have to in the future. I know I will want to live differently.” The main difference she has in mind is children. When I ask her where she sees herself in 10 years, she says, in a distinctively Bajan tone of disbelief, “Ten years? I’ll be 42! I’ll be ancient. I’ll have kids – three or four of ’em.”

Whether she would be a single mother: “Hell, yeah. I feel like society makes me want to feel like, ‘Oh, you got it wrong…’ They diminish you as a mother if there’s not a dad in your kids’ lives. But the only thing that matters is happiness, that’s the only healthy relationship between a parent and a child. That’s the only thing that can raise a child truly, is love.”

[From British Vogue]

I could easily see her as mom of several kids. I think the only thing keeping her from motherhood is herself – she could walk away from everything right now and start having babies and I wouldn’t be surprised, but I think she’s several years away from that. And come on, every man in the world wants to be Rihanna’s baby-daddy. I also found her talk about British racism very interesting – she’s been living in London pretty much full-time for something like three or four years. She saw all of the Duchess of Sussex stuff. She’s seen all of it.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (C) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) stand with Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom, Janice Charette, as they leave after their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitalit

Covers courtesy of British Vogue.

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18 Responses to “Rihanna: ‘Racism is alive everywhere. Everywhere. It’s the same [in the UK]‘”

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  1. BayTampaBay says:

    Does anyone know if she has meet the Duchess of Sussex?

  2. julia says:

    Oh for sure there’s racism in the UK. But she’s right, it is much more insidious than in other countries.

    It’s also on a whole different level. When Brexit happened, I was absolutely floored by how many people (especially white middle-class and Uni educated) would come up to me and say “omg, I’m so sorry this situation happened, this has nothing to do with you”

    You mean this has nothing to do with a white woman from Western Europe, but if my skin colour was different or I came from Eastern Europe, then this would be an issue??? Because this was clearly what was implied, and they did not realised at all how freaking racists they were being. Made my blood boiled

    • Ines says:

      I’m South American. In the US I would not be considered white, but here in the UK I am. Still, I’m a foreigner. I have an Italian passport and I’ve been living in the UK for well over 20 years.
      My husband’s mum, stepdad and ALL their friends voted for Brexit. Their main concern is immigration. I said to his mum once: if Brexit had happened some years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to come here and marry your son (she loves me). To which she replied : I’m not voting to stop YOU from coming to the UK. No, I said, you’re voting for people LIKE me to stop coming to the UK. She looked down and didn’t know what to say.
      A lot of her friends were all “don’t worry Ines, this won’t affect you”. They don’t understand how unwelcome I’ve been made to feel, even if I won’t personally lose my right to live in the UK.

      • Nahema says:

        @Ines, I agree 100%. So many British people voted for Brexit because of their severe and irrational fear of immigrants. This is both racism and a very strong sense of xenophobia at play and the tabloids had been feeding and fueling that fear like crazy for years.

        Whats really interesting is that it was only a certain section of the population that held these views and bought into it but they bought into it heavily and it became their cause. They were loud in their views, while the more educated (sorry I don’t know how else to word it) were quiet and complacent, almost like they felt it was never going to happen. But it did.

        @Julia, I’m a mixed race woman, who was married to a white French man. I can honestly say that people didn’t care that he was white, they cared that he was French. Anything other than British was a problem, even though he would get the same apologies to his face. As a brown skin British girl, I certainly felt he got far more hatred than me.

        I’m not denying the racism in this country at all but I do think people confuse it with xenophobia a lot and I think the latter is possibly a more powerful force here than in the US.

  3. megs283 says:

    She reminds me of Angie in that both started off as major sex symbols and as time has gone on, we’ve learned that they both have brains and are planning in high-level strategic ways for the long-term. She’s brilliant, hard-working, and it seems like she has a good heart.

  4. Flamingo says:

    I see her being like Mia Farrow and adopting a bunch of kids when she’s ready.

  5. Kamala says:

    ‘And nothing makes me feel better than being invisible’

    Sounds like you picked the wrong line of work then because I can see you from the other side of the world. 🙂

  6. Lara says:

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned in comments before but have people watched Dave perform his song Black at the Brits? I really recommend it and especially that version as he adds on an extra verse about racism in Britain.

  7. ABritGuest says:

    Rihanna is 100% right. It’s insidious in Britain and minorities are targeted especially in the media but everyone pretends they don’t know why. The worst is the complete denial of racism in Britain.

    Anyway I enjoyed this interview. Never thought I would end up admiring Rihanna so much.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      It’s easy to imagine that some there might deny that it’s a real problem because they can point to worse examples of it in other countries.

  8. Aang says:

    I was raised by a single mother. I see my kids with their wonderful father and realize what I missed out on. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the importance of a father.

  9. Lotus says:

    Its interesting that she can see racism of others but still doesnt acknowledge her own racist actions. Just a reminder that rhi still has that bullshit ricecake photo on her instagram

  10. Valerie says:

    Yep. We’re fooling ourselves if we think we live in a post-racial society. :\

  11. Storminateacup says:

    I have to laugh at your reference point being Megan and Harry. She married into a family which celebrates it’s history of colonialism, slavery and all things ‘Empire’. As a black/mixed race woman she knows that 100% and still chose to be a part of it. While I sympathise with her in some ways I’m in no way surprised by the media’s treatment of her. It put a global spotlight on the issue of the negative perception and treatment of black and minority women in the UK.
    What Rihanna probably knows about is the Windrush scandal. An immigration policy that until recently deported West Indians that were brought in to fight alongside British Troops and rebuild the UK after the Second World War. The Grenfeld tower fire that killed 72 people because it was built with cheap highly flammable cladding ( ironically in one of the most expensive boroughs in London) because it housed mostly poor minorities. She probably knows about the London Metropolitan Police criminalising black people and black men in particular through stop and search practices. She probably knows about black UK actors having to travel to the US for work because of the lack of opportunities in their own home country. The list goes on and on.

    • lexx says:

      “I have to laugh at your reference point being Megan and Harry. She married into a family which celebrates it’s history of colonialism, slavery and all things ‘Empire’. As a black/mixed race woman she knows that 100% and still chose to be a part of it.”

      THIS PART.
      I deeply empathize with everything w/ the media. But I’m always shocked with the level of naivete she brought w/r/t relationship and marriage. This is the family that STARTED the Atlantic Slave Trade. They were the most DOMINANT participants. This is the family that came up with the idea of white supremacy. How did she think that was going to work out for her? How did she think it was going to be less hot at the mouth of hell?