RiRi just can't be

RiRi seems to think she can’t do any wrong.

After performing live for a very receptive crowd in Abu Dhabi, the controversial singer stunted a photo shoot on the off-limit grounds of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. She was rightfully asked by authorities to leave the grounds, as her behaviour violated the sanctity of the mosque.

Rihanna’s controversial decision negates any sense of cultural sensitivity – especially by appropriating religious headwear as a fashion accessory.

The pop star may have foregone skin-baring clothes for a hijab and black garbs that offer full coverage from head to toe, but the very decision to have a photo shoot in one of the world’s largest Muslim places of worship undermines these benign efforts at cultural appropriation.

Some fans argue in defense of RiRi’s actions and say that donning such a conservative and covered look signals her respect for the culture.

However, photos and corresponding captions posted to RiRi’s accurately-named Instagram account, badgalriri, hardly express any type of homage to the sacred building.


Instead, she’s the focal point of each photo. Placing this building as mere backdrop undervalues its very sanctimonious resonance with a huge cultural population.

The very impromptu nature of the photo shoot also signals a cumbersome irrationality and ignorance not to be superseded anytime soon. RiRi could have gone to any other local venue in Abu Dhabi for her fashion-style photo shoot – and yet, she chose this cultural landmark to pervade with her presence.

RiRi can hardly be called a “clueless tourist”: she’s evidently here to make a statement while attenuating the ideas of her vulgarity or celebrity sensationalism.

On her Diamonds World Tour, RiRi also posed with an endangered species of slow loris in Thailand – the photo of which prompted the arrest of the animal’s owners for their possession of a protected animal.

Her Thailand escapades didn’t end there: a tweet by the star tipped authorities off to an illegally-operating venue, a sex show on the island of Tucket.

Like Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes, RiRi’s boasts a notorious and provocative social media presence – her Diamonds World Tour is only another glimpse into a celebrity persona that will continue to push socially-acceptable bounds.

Whether you’re a RiRi fan or follower or a critical observer, you’ll notice that this hijab-bearing photoshoot was meant as another controversy stirring instance to boost the star’s bad girl image.

Riri’s Diamonds World Tour may be gaining solid ground – but it’s stunts like these, make of them what you will, that will overshadow her singing and stage talents.

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