Rihanna, she used to be cool, man.
Aloof, vain, and probably always a bit of diva – but cool. Rihanna is physically strong, vocally lovely, sexually confident, and ridiculously beautiful. She has all the makings of an inspirational woman in a fickle, savage industry. Also, I really liked Umbrella.
But Rihanna blew all of that this week when she bullied a 16-year-old girl on social media.
The girl, Alexis Carter, wore a jumpsuit-dress hybrid thing to her formal (“prom” in American English) that was an exact replica of an outfit Rihanna wore in 2010. Alexis tagged Rihanna in the post because she’s her idol, and like millions of young women, Alexis wants nothing more in life than her hero’s attention.
Rihanna could have responded with a ‘like’ or a comment. She could’ve smiled and hugged that sweet feeling of being adored to herself. Instead, she lashed out at the teen, re-posted her photo with a sad face emoticon and spent the next few hours openly mocking her on Twitter.
Here’s the photo Rihanna posted, with her on the left and Alexis on the right.
“Ri-Ri” has 35 million followers on Twitter. And she had millions on Instagram, before she deleted her account following this incident. When she takes someone on publicly, she essentially calls an army of fans to action. When she bullies someone like this, it’s not Rihanna Vs. Teenager. It’s Rihanna’s 35,000,000 strong army of fans Vs. vulnerable teenager.
SHE’S A DECENT ROLE MODEL FOR YOUNG WOMEN BUT THE INTERNET HATES HER: IN DEFENCE OF TAYLOR SWIFT.
WHY AREN’T WE ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT NICOLE KIDMAN’S NEW FACE?
The power imbalance is staggering and so is the level of Rihanna’s contempt for a fan. Any singer with a scrap of humbleness or discretion knows that fans maketh the star.
Jessie J, for instance, calls her fans “heartbeats” – because without them she would not exist. Lady Gaga is devoted to her “little monsters”. But Rihanna appears to have no respect or even awareness that without teenage girls like Alexis, she’s just a moderately talented singer who doesn’t wear pants.