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Rihanna, shut up and sing


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Rihanna, shut up and sing

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The Nation’s Online Editor Carol Martindale has some advice for Rihanna in the wake of comments made in an interview with British Vogue where she spoke of the c-word and being a role model.
 
Rihanna needs to take the advice she gave in one of her songs – well at least the first part for sure.
She needs to SHUT UP!
Let me say from the outset that I am a big Rihanna fan, with the utmost respect and admiration for what she has been able to achieve in such a short time.
Rihanna is beautiful, talented, trendy and continues to make her mark in the fashion and music industries. She has even dabbled in acting, landing a role in the film Battleship.
That’s why it is beyond me why this 23-year-old, now billed as one of the top artistes in the world, being featured on almost every major magazine cover across the globe, would be irresponsible with the comments she makes.
Rihanna needs to stop and think before she speaks, especially when she does not only attempt to reflect her own views, but those of an entire country and its citizens.
Her latest faux pas came recently in an interview with British Vogue  Magazine which will hit news stands next month.
In that interview, Rihanna spoke of her familiarity  for the “c-word”.
“That word is so offensive to everyone in the world except for Bajans. You know African-Americans use the n-word to their brothers? Well, that’s the way we use the c-word,” she said.
That caused much furor and upset many Bajans, some of whom believed that Rihanna should speak for herself and not try to speak for all Barbadians. There were some, however, who agreed with her.
But many were outraged when she went further: “When I first came here, I was saying it like it was nothing …. until my make-up artist finally had to tell me to stop. I just never know.”
Come on, Rihanna, this cannot be a serious comment. Even when the c-word is used, whether widely or not, those spouting this word know that it is an expletive and it’s not just a casual word.
Some say those who complain are being hypocrites because the word is used by Barbadians in conversations. No one is disputing its use, but to say and give the impression that you did not know it was offensive is stretching it a bit. Also, I am not sure I would go to the extent to say that the c-word is not offensive to Barbadians as that is too much of a generalization.
Rihanna then went further in the interview to say she was not a role model nor does she want to be.  
In the interview, she said: “The things I say in my songs, they expect it of me and being a role model became more of my job than I wanted it to be. But no, I just want to make music. That’s it”.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a role model as: “a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated”.
The harsh truth is, whether Rihanna likes it or not, many pitch her as a role model as many of our young people look up to her – not necessarily for direction, which is the responsibility of parents and guardians – but certainly as a pop icon in the attractive and glamourous world of entertainment and fashion. Many young people want to be like Rihanna and they pattern her moves and her style.
Lest Rihanna forgets, the late Prime Minister David Thompson had appointed her an Ambassador for youth and culture.
Then, earlier this year Rihanna inked a deal with the Barbados Tourism Authority to promote this country for the next three years.  
Rihanna has to realize that with influence comes responsibility, even at 23. Rihanna, by the very nature of her international success, will be under the microscope by many, and often – whether fairly or otherwise. Therefore, she needs to realize the consequences of her actions as well as words.
After Rihanna’s Homecoming concert in Barbados in August, the singer had Barbadians even more in awe of her. It would be sad to see her sully and soil this with callous and careless comments about the c-word, giving the impression it’s part of Barbados’ culture.
So Rihanna stop and think, or just SHUT UP!!
 

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