Sunday, October 23, 2011

Onana, what’s wrong with Rihanna?

24 October 2011 - It’s been a while since Facebook and I were on the same page, but Twitter and I are friends. Twitter is much easier to manage, in my opinion, and as has been said often, there’s only so much drivel one can spout in 140 characters. But what I love most about it is the eavesdropping, especially when you’re ‘following’ celebrity conversations. It’s fascinating stuff.

I used to think celebrities were just like the rest of us, just more famous. Boy, was I wrong. Some of them could as well be from another planet. Always makes me want to do the robot dance and chant, “Take me to your leader”, because it does seem to me that there’s a puppet master on that planet who’s somehow managed to convince this world that his Pinnochios are real little boys and girls.

Take Rihanna for example. Back when she was a human being and not a product of the mass media, things were much simpler. I remember one of her earliest interviews on the Tyra Bank’s Show. She was promoting Pon de Replay, the first song off her debut album Music of the Sun.
You could tell that she was very much in awe of Tyra and indeed, the whole set of circumstances, almost like she couldn’t believe any of it. There was even an element of gratitude. Fast forward to the album Good Girl Gone Bad and the celebrity factory had churned out a “rockstar” (her words) who bore little resemblance to the young Bajan beauty who had spoken so demurely on Tyra. Now there was an element of entitlement.

It’s as if Rihanna has a progressive, degenerative disease of the mind. With each album, the good girl has gone from bad to worse. She had to defend herself after the outcry that followed Man Down, a single off the album Loud, which she says was inspired by the evils of sexual abuse. “I’m a rockstar, not a role model,” she said on Twitter, after the video was condemned for glamourising sexual violence and attempting to normalise murder.

Recently, she ran into trouble with a Northern Ireland land owner who objected to her risqué We Found Love video being shot on his property – she was dancing around topless. Once again the “rockstar” took to her Twitter page to explain that love is a powerful drug and that the video was deep and meaningful. Millions of fans responded, agreeing in principle that taking off your clothes, simulating sexual acts and vomiting (all of these scenes in We Found Love) are deep and meaningful. Can’t blame them really.

As I write this, I’ve got my earphones on as Rihanna sings rum, pa, pa, pum to Man Down. I didn’t like it at first, but it grew on me. That’s the insidious nature of this music. The crafty nature of that otherworldly puppet master, who force-feeds us vomit knowing that inevitably, we will come to enjoy it.

From fresh clay, Rihanna has been moulded into a substance abusing, morally challenged, over-stimulated sexual entity. And yet, she is still commanding an audience. Perhaps we’ve all ‘gone bad’ together. Have a thoughtful weekend.

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