EDITORIAL: Act more responsibly, RiRi
CONGRATULATIONS to our megastar Rihanna, for winning the 2014 Fashion Icon Award on Monday night. This formal recognition of her trend-setting style should prove a tremendous boost to her outstanding career.
Though we applaud Rihanna’s continued achievements, we cannot ignore anything she does which may not be in the best interest of those who idolise her. We speak of the daring dress she wore Monday to collect the statuette at the Council Of Fashion Designers of America in New York.
Apart from her 1920s styled scarf-covered headpiece, she wore little else.
The dress was completely see-through showing her breasts and a flesh-coloured thong.
As to be expected, that dress has sparked a debate here and worldwide about whether Rihanna’s style is too extreme, and if this time she has gone too far.
On Wednesday this furore intensified when a poster advertising Rihanna’s perfume was given a “placement restriction” after the Advertising Standards Authority in Britain said the image was “sexually suggestive”.
The shot, which promotes the singer’s perfume Rogue, features a topless Rihanna sitting on the floor with her legs raised against a large bottle of the fragrance. The ad has now been restricted to areas where children are unlikely to see it.
All of this comes nearly two months after the photo-sharing app Instagram suspended the 26-year-old singer’s account after a topless picture shot for French fashion magazine Lui appeared in her feed. Rihanna ultimately deleted her account which had more than 35 million followers.
As we recognise that Rihanna is an international entity and is marketed as such, it is not our place to lecture her about her risqué fashion and a lifestyle which is not typically Barbadian.
We have no doubt that wearing that Monday’s dress was part of her handlers’ image-building strategy, as the fashion awards was one place such a daring outfit could be legitimately worn.
The publicity generated certainly suggests the move achieved its goal. She made a statement about her sensuality which is central to her music and set tongues wagging. And in that competitive arena, as long as people are talking about you – good or bad – it keeps you in the limelight, and this can often be monetised.
Our concern, though, is that as a role model, whatever she does would be mimicked – as much as they can – by her many adoring fans.
Whether Rihanna wants it or not, with fame comes responsibility. Impressionable minds are always watching and seeking to emulate what their idol does. So if their icon is portrayed as a sensual being who has no qualms of being photographed semi-nude or in erotic poses, then they may follow suit.
It is our wish that Rihanna would recognise this and begin to lend her stardom more to wholesome lifestyle statements that could prove more uplifting to her adoring fans.