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IN THE CANDID CORNER – Too outrageous?

Matthew Farley

IN THE CANDID CORNER – Too outrageous?

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. . . People are going to talk about you, you can’t stop that. You just have to be that strong person and know who you are so that stuff just bounces off. – Rihanna
Rihanna’s LOUD show and concert should be free to Barbadians. It should not cost the citizens of her birthplace one red cent. It should be free!
Robin Fenty, that staggering beauty who has fascinated the world with her amazing talent and at the same time seemed to have offended so many by what others consider her risqué behaviour, is a global attention grabber. She is a phenomenal superstar who has emerged from the bowels of this small country barely visible on the world map.
I know it seems outrageous to even suggest that our gift to the world should perform at home for free. So as they say in entertainment circles: “Bring it down! Bring it down! Low! Low!” It is not that I am putting down the young woman who put Barbados on the entertainment map. It is not that I am joining those many Barbadians who feel that Rihanna does not wear the title Youth Ambassador with any pride. Absolutely not!
When the Barbadian superstar appeared at the NBA All Star game, her performance was dubbed “raunchy”. In fact, in an Allvoices story we read of her turning out to be a flaming fire at the NBA All Star game. The Bajan beauty’s clothing was described as daring and her provocative performance sparked a lot of controversies.
Rihanna’s All Star game performance marked the celebrations of her 23rd birthday. In her skimpy outfit, she shocked many by grabbing her crotch on stage, Michael Jackson-style. Rihanna also evoked harsh criticism for her over-sexualized performance last year in Britain. The rocking star received huge complaints for her racy showdown in the hit reality show X Factor.
Our international pop star was asked to tone down her stage show for the Brit Awards. Even though the racy star didn’t completely comply and performed a sexy medley of her songs in London, she did modify some of the songs’ risky lyrics for the show. But this did not stop Britain’s Radio 1 from blacklisting the single or the video from being banned in 11 countries because of raunchy content. But Rihanna is so “unstoppable” that such harsh criticism did not stop the superstar from winning the Brit Award for Best International Female Solo Artist.
So I boldly declare: “She belongs to we!” The world has seen her at her best and at her worst.
Isn’t it ironic though, that at a time when former Prime Minister Owen Arthur warns of a deepening economic crisis and Governor of the Central Bank Dr Delisle Worrell admits that “things are indeed bad for the average man”, apparently many “average” Bajan women can fork out “five ‘hurn’ dollars” for VIP tickets for Rihanna’s LOUD concert?  Poor me can’t even afford one for the grounds.
It is my view that the international pop star should have a guaranteed purse of US$10 million. This money would be generated from the television rights as the show is beamed across the region and the wider world.
The marketing experts should be advising the Barbados Tourism Authority. In spite of continued failure of the West Indies team to excite the region’s interest in cricket and even though the stadiums around the region were largely empty during the just concluded series against India, the West Indies Cricket Board made millions from the television rights alone. Who is advising whom?
How would I bill the LOUD concert by our home-grown superstar? Rihanna’s Homecoming! A Star Returns To Base! Good Girl Gone Bad, Comes Home To Mum! Mandown! Girl Up In Bim!
On top of this, August 5 would be declared a national holiday in honour of this global phenomenon, the likes that neither the region nor the world has seen before or will see again in another 100 years. Barbados and Barbadians should stand still on this day in recognition of the fact that Rihanna’s achievements demonstrate that this small country continues to punch bigger than its size.
In conclusion, to top it all off, I would rename Swan Street after the international pop star. I am also proposing that the auditorium at Combermere, her alma mater, should be refurbished and named in honour of the superstar. The Central Bank of Barbados would be commissioned to issue a commemorative $200 coin or better still, a $200 bill which would carry the lovely face of this singing sensation. Given the fact that Rihanna’s global impact is comparable to that of cricketing legend and National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers, Robin Rihanna Fenty’s name should be added to our pantheon of National Heroes. Sarah Ann Gill could do with some feminine company.
Call me outrageous if you will! For undoubtedly, the Rihanna that Barbados has given the world is no ordinary girl. Outrageous people deserve outrageous recognition that might actually outrage many of us!
 Matthew D. Farley is a secondary school principal, chairman of the National Forum On Education, and a social commentator. Email [email protected]