It’s hard to deny Rihanna’s star power. The recipient of six Grammy Awards, the artist with that famous Bajan drawl, has sold in excess of 41 million albums worldwide and currently holds the record as the top selling digital artist of all time. All that under the quarter-of-a-century mark.
But all of this fame and extensive list of accolades have been marred by her volatile on-off again relationship with fellow R&B artist Chris Brown. Making headlines back in 2009 for that famous altercation before the Grammy Awards, Brown was ordered to stay away from Rihanna for an extensive time, and convicted of assault. Meanwhile, the public, including Ri Ri’s predominantly young fanbase, were shattered by that grotesque photo of her battered face that surfaced in tabloids worldwide.
And then, last year, the unthinkable happened. After many a suggestive Instagram pic hinting that the estranged couple were back in contact, the two made it very clear that they were in fact together again, by attending the very event where it all happened, hand-in-hand: the 2013 Grammy Awards.
“He’s not the monster everyone thinks,” Rihanna told the Sun. “He’s a good person. He has a fantastic heart.”
The two recently celebrated Rihanna’s 25th birthday together in Hawaii, looking more in love than ever. This month, she told Elle magazine that she plans to have a child with him, as the world continues its bewilderment.
If her latest album is anything to go by –a mashup of explicit themes and sexual innuendo – with the track titles tattooed onto Rihanna’s naked body on the cover art, we will be seeing a changed woman come Spring. And most likely, a more adult show.
So it’s fitting too, that her audience be older this time around. Her standing as a role model has weakened dramatically since her decision to take back Brown, and threatens to stall her ticket sales and sellout reputation.
Love usually softens a person, strengthens their career, and betters them all round, but it’s hard to argue that this is has been the case for Ri Ri.