Last week, as we all know, an idiot on Barstool Sports felt compelled to call Rihanna fat and have a cry over whether Rihanna’s body weight meant that now being fat would be “in,” which, like, jog on/nobody asked you/who are you again/never speak to me or to anyone but especially not Rihanna and don’t you dare speak her name.
Then yesterday, Rihanna posted a meme on Twitter referencing the Gucci Mane of 2007 vs. the Gucci Mane of today which has led to a bevy of sites celebrating her clap-back in the wake of wondering “what it all means.”
So here’s what it means: shut up, everybody.
The thing to remember about Rihanna’s body is that it isn’t ours. It doesn’t belong to us. And if her body isn’t ours, we don’t get to give a flying fuck as to whether or not she’s fat or skinny or whatever-the-hell because it isn’t any of our business. Rihanna is a grown-ass woman who gets to make her own choices and wear what she wants, and assigning meaning to her figure via our own narratives is offensive and ridiculous. In what world were we given the authority to have a say as to what her body means? And in what world did it seem like she’d care?
Rihanna has built a career not on empowerment, but on power. And that means she performs and writes and sings and acts on her own accord and to fulfill herself, and not as a means of lending her message or her image/body/work to us. She has never bent to our wants or to our expectations (remember how long it took for ANTI to come out?) and she has never shied away from shutting down nonsense when it crosses her. Rihanna is living her own life and taking her own path, and both are far away from our own realities. We like to think there’s a crossover, but that’s because she’s generous: she chooses to go out and be photographed and let us think we know what she’s up to. We don’t. Because she’s a famous person with her own life.
So when we assign any narrative to her body other than “Oh cool, there’s Rihanna!” we are assuming that we get to have a say in, well, anything. Plus, we make it seem like her body needs to be justified–that it’s a vessel for dialogue instead of what contains her brain and heart and gifts and, and, and.
Rihanna can do whatever the hell she wants and has always done whatever the hell she wants and will do whatever the hell she wants as her life and career continues. We get to weigh on the art and politics because that is how art and politics work. Everything else is really none of our business.