|"Cake, cake, cake, cake, cake, cake." - Rihanna|
Usually, whenever I've reflected upon an individual who has undergone an abrupt change in behavior, my first instinct is to wonder what in the world transpired to make a person go from there to here? A connotation which implies that something negatively occurred along the way. However, when it comes to multi-platinum recording artist Rihanna, strangely enough, it's the complete opposite. If anything, the Barbados-born beauty now seems to possess a force unknown beforehand, an unapologetic attitude in which she has thoroughly embraced.
Six years ago, I recall hearing this song for the very first time and thinking to myself how uniquely distinctive the woman's voice sounded. The song, Umbrella, incorporated a hypnotic chorus delivered over an addictive mixture of old school hip hop drum patterns and giddy R&B chords, and easily the slickest R&B song I'd heard since Beyonce's solo debut Crazy In Love, which also featured a befitting Jay Z verse. I remember saying, "She's on her way to being a superstar." Reason being, I felt the international appeal of Rihanna was poised to reach wider audiences. Rolling Stone listed the Grammy Award winner at number three on the 100 Best Songs of 2007.
Years later, despite critics who've adamantly insisted that Rihanna doesn't own an ounce of professional talent and mostly resembles a woman belonging to the world's oldest profession, "Little Miss Sunshine" is a bonafide superstar. Rihanna isn't the best singer or dancer or entertainer. For all I know, she isn't the best anything. Yet, in an industry where Beyonce has ran roughshod since "uh-oh, uh-oh," Rihanna has managed quite a name for herself. Only 24, the end of her chart-topping success appears to be nowhere in sight. Last year, Time Magazine named Rihanna one of the most influential people in the world. Forbes ranked her as the fourth most powerful celebrity with earnings of $53 million. Not bad for an artist who's signature recording is a song passed on by representatives of both Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige.
Rihanna reminds me of a less than talented little girl dancing in the mirror in a bedroom filled with loud music and emulating her idol and biggest influence, prancing wildly back and forth as if you cannot tell her anything and all eyes are focused squarely upon her every step. Not to mention she's getting paid to do that which we've done for free. So although the performance itself might be somewhat bad, the realness of it all is perfectly good. A carefree persona which bears the attitude that she can do absolutely no wrong. All of which assures me that Robyn Rihanna Fenty could give a damn how you, I, or anyone else feels about her. At the end of the day, I am positively sure that mere words will never stop Rihanna from doing Madonna.
Even better than Madonna, at that.