Rihanna And The Case Of Cultural Appropriation

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In this image released on October 2, Rihanna is seen onstage during Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 presented by Amazon Prime Video at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California; and broadcast on October 2, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 Presented by Amazon Prime Video)
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By NAN ET Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 9, 2020: In a clear case of cultural appropriation, Caribbean-born star Rihanna has been forced to apologize after the use of a song that included an Islamic Hadith in her Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 show on Oct. 2, 2020, presented by Amazon Prime Video.

Rihanna, who was born in Barbados, received criticism online after her lingerie brand Savage x Fenty weekend’s show featured a song that included a recording of sacred Islamic text, prompting criticism. The song “Doom,” by producer Coucou Chloe, included a remix of a Hadith narration when played during a segment of the show. In the Islamic faith, the Hadith is a sacred written record representing the traditions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, used as guidance by Muslims. The specific hadith audio in the “Doom” sample has been attributed to Kuwaiti preacher Mishary bin Rashid Alafasy.

“I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our Savage x Fenty show, I would more importantly like to apologize to you for this honest, yet careless mistake,” Rhianna said in a statement Tuesday. “We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters and I’m incredibly disheartened by this! I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of the song in our project was completely irresponsible! Moving forward we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding.”

The Shut Up and Drive singer’s words comes after Chloe issued an apology on Monday.

Posting on Twitter, she shared: “I want to deeply apologize for the offence caused by the vocal samples used in my song ‘DOOM.’ The song was created using samples from Baile Funk tracks I found online. At the time, I was not aware that these samples used text from an Islamic Hadith. I want to deeply apologize for the offence caused by the vocal samples used in my song ‘DOOM’. The song was created using samples from Baile Funk tracks I found online. At the time, I was not aware that these samples used text from an Islamic Hadith. I take full responsibility for the fact I did not research these words properly and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to explain this to me. We have been in the process of having the song urgently removed from all streaming platforms.”

It is not the first time Rihanna has faced cultural appropriation criticism. In her first season of Fenty x Savage, one model was seen wearing a headwrap bearing close similarity to a hijab – a traditional Islamic headscarf.

And on July 9, Harper’s Bazaar China unveiled images from its August cover shoot featuring Rihanna, featuring elaborate hair, makeup and props such as a Chinese hand fan and hand-painted screen. Chinese fans were quick to cry cultural appropriation.

Also, in 2013, Rihanna was ousted from an Abu Dhabi mosque for using the location as a backdrop for some photos that she posted to her Instagram. Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque during her Diamonds World Tour, Rihanna opted for a “conservative” outfit — a form-fitting black jumpsuit and a hijab — in which to pose for photos. Authorities at the mosque said that Rihanna was in areas “typically off-limits to visitors and that her fashion-style shoot didn’t support the ‘status and sanctity of the mosque.'”

One of the several photos that Rihanna posted on her Instagram from her sexy mosque romp shows Rihanna posing with her hands on her hips, a group of Muslim women in the background, and the caption reads: “Bitch stole my look.”