Rihanna Looks Great On Vanity Fair Cover, Also Calls Rachel Dolezal A “Hero”

Here’s Rihanna in Cuba shot by Annie Leibowitz for Vanity Fairlooking all louche and glam and of the people at the same time. Look how beautiful! Look how gorgeous. Look at that glamorous decay. Look, also, at the words that comprise this article, which are words that you will be hearing about for at least some of today, if not longer. There’s a lot of good stuff in this interview, but we might as well get this shit out of the way now.

Here is Rihanna on Rachel Dolezal, the white lady who pretended to be a black woman (nay, insists she IS a black woman, inside) for some years while running a chapter of the NAACP:

“I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit. Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”

Rihanna called Rachel Dolezal a hero. Is this bad? Yeah, it could be. The general consensus by a large swath of people from randos on Twitter to the media to Rachel Dolezal’s parents agree that duping people into thinking you’re another race while using the perceived advantages afforded to your actual race for your own gain is a shitty and unnecessarily confusing life choice. This, for the most part, is understood by all parties. Operating by this logic, what Rihanna said about Dolezal is a huge red flag. But, remember — context is everything.

The writer chose to drop this quote into a paragraph that includes, among other things, Rihanna’s musings on LeBron James, the tight group of friends that she surrounds herself with that keep her moving, and the tiny amount of sleep she gets each night. As readers, we only know what the author chooses to share with us. Who knows how and when this subject came up. Did Rihanna mention it herself, free of any other prodding? Did the author take a deep breath, exhale and bleat out an inquiry about Rihanna’s opinion on this whole Dolezal thing? Or did it float to the surface, as things do in conversation, and the author, sensing a whiff of controversy, plopped it into the end of a paragraph used to establish how Rihanna thinks about normal shit just like the rest of us, and then moved on?

We’ll never know, because we don’t have access to the actual interview transcript. We can’t hear tone. We don’t know what time it was. We don’t know what they were doing. All we have is what the writer chose to report. Be mad at Rihanna, if you want to — it is kind of a shitty stance — but remember that she’s a human being. Just take it from her:

“We’re all flawed human beings who are learning and growing and evolving and going through the same bullshit as everybody else. The fact that people expect the day we sign we’re supposed to be perfect does not make any fucking sense to me.”

Hold your heroes up on a pedestal and flap your jaw when they disappoint you, but doing so strips them of their humanity. She’s human! We all are. Sometimes we regret things. The best part about Rihanna, though, is that she seems to have no fucks left to give. [Vanity Fair]