Rihanna’s Gown, “Respectability” And Why Black Women Were NOT Better Off In The 1950s

June 6, 2014  |  

Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

I knew there would be some crazy memes and negative responses when Rihanna appeared across the Internet, draped in glittery crystals and a warm smile, but I was not prepared for it to be this bad.

Okay, that’s a lie. The Internet is always pretty bad when it comes to these things. I mean, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not shaking my head at the ridiculousness of what I read and watch (on a side note: I totally recognize that folks might feel the same way about me and my work at times, however that doesn’t make my point less valid…moving on). I mean, people are going in about the appropriateness of Rihanna’s dress like they knew what the CFDA Awards were prior to all this Rihanna-related press. As if people really tune in every single year with the family around the computer, rooting for Marc Jacobs to win for Womenswear Designer of the Year and throwing popcorn at the screen because Ralph Lauren won the L’Oréal Popular Vote. No. You and your clan didn’t have a clue because who is really THAT into fashion anyway? If you say that you are, then you would have likely considered the fact that there have been plenty of bare breasts and butt-cheeks floating around red carpets at fashion industry events for as long as the catwalk has existed – and way before Ri Ri showed us hers.

Not to mention all of the countless other respectable black women we seem to quote and admire, who too have been filmed in the buff. Those includes the likes of Grace Jones and Nina Simone, and of course, Josephine Baker (who Rihanna’s look was reportedly inspired by and whose birthday was on June 3). And there were many others. Of course, a few of those women were vilified and maligned for their boldness back in the day as well, like Baker, whose talent could only be appreciated on shores – and in communities – not of her own. And it was only after some time and reflection that we began to fully appreciate what these women were giving the world. Well, that’s at least how I like to imagine the narrative. The reality is that we ended up cloaking and rewriting much of their bold legacies in less “shameful” honorariums, but go about our hoe-shaming of others for not living up to those largely romanticized identities without missing a step.

Like the above meme.

There are so many things wrong with the above picture I just don’t really know how and where to begin. But for the sake of some sort of brevity, let me just focus on the romanticized view we have of the past. Cut it out already.

For many of us, the past (the 1950s for example) was this magical place of black reputability, where brown-faced kids rode bicycles down sterilized tree-lined neighborhoods; where dad worked 9 to 5 every single day while homemaker wife made from-scratch pound cakes in heels and pearls. And then, after dinner, the whole clan – including the family dog – would gather around the black and white TV for an episode of Leave It to Beaver.

However, the realities of the 1950s were less than idyllic – sometimes deeply. For one there was Jim Crow and segregation in the South as well as rampant discrimination in the North. Basically, 1950s America was racist as hell and a struggle for black folks. Also, poverty was prevalent in the black community. And unlike The Beav, black and brown kids had to do their playing in the slummy part of town, including the newly developed housing projects,while dad sat unemployed because nobody was trying to hire a black man and mom baked her world famous pound cakes for low wages in some white woman’s kitchen.

But there were still pearls and heels.

Those pearls and heels were mainly on the rising number of college educated black women, who after the second World War (which compelled many women to go into the workforce) often struggled between pursuing careers and personal ambitions and the rising tide of advertising and other propaganda by the dominate culture, which sought to define a woman’s worth by how well she kept house, herself and children. As pointed out in this article entitled, “A Glimpse into Marriage Advice From the 1950s,” the return of men from the War sparked a cottage industry of uncredited “experts” and “counselors,” who encouraged women to think of marriage as a fulfilling career. While the merits of work, both inside and outside of the home, were being hotly debated among the dominate culture, for many black women, their education and professional advancement in society wasn’t a choice. That lack of choice often led to many black women having dual consciousness.

Or as noted in the book, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings:

With no rationale for achievement save material gain, they worried about how they were perceived as women at a time when their White peers were staying at home, having children and scanning the shelves for the latest appliances. One of Noble’s respondents said; “Sometimes I feel that Negro women feel guilty about the education that they do have. They are more conscious of the fact that accomplishments may prevent them from getting married. I have actually had them ask me how they can put on brakes, to keep from being “A” students and presidents of clubs, and so forth.” Nevertheless, economic exigency and the combined forces of sexism and racism kept propelling Black women forward…“The fact that they go on to higher degrees is not so surprising. There are so few things that come naturally to the Negro woman to inspire her to be herself. She is forever having to meet requirements for a job in order to make sure that she is in a position to bargain…It is regrettable that she is not free to make a genuine search either for learning or self-fulfillment.” The result, she said, was a “lack of healthy self-concept” which “created a sense of insecurity.”

Sometimes these insecurities manifested themselves in ways that sought to minimize their individual aims in life, both professionally and personally, in order to not further disturb the fragile ego of racism-weary black men or further malign themselves in a society, which historically had placed them outside of both righteous femininity and womanhood. (Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman” comes to mind as an even earlier example of how black women were regarded as less than womanly) Many times, that meant cloaking themselves in dogmatic forms of virtue, respectability and morality. And yes, even down to how they exercised their sexuality.

Yet despite all of the effort to adhere to good girl morals and values, black women weren’t and aren’t revered for it. Not through the silent yet commonplace normalcy of domestic violence. And not through pay rates, disrespect and flat-out harassment from the white dominate culture. Matter of fact, there was never a time in history when a black woman’s respectability wasn’t questioned. Whereas white women have historically been the status of respect and purity and later could etch out spaces of their own to validate their own sexual revolution, particularly in both media and popular culture, black women were always expected to be beacons of classiness and morality to fight against against widely believed tropes that said we were innately promiscuous, aggressive and even predatory. And as such, what started out as a shield to protect us has become the equivalent of a cheap dollar store mask – suffocating us from the inside out.

Not to mention, some of those respectable looking women were actually well-dressed prostitutes. But that’s a whole other essay yet be written…

I understand fully the thin line we walk between engaging in healthy sexualities for ourselves and just doing so to conform to white supremacist hetero-capitalist patriarchy, which keeps all women objectified and subjugated. But how do we do the work of untangling ourselves from those binds, if we don’t take risks and cross lines to test and determine what works for you and what should have never been placed upon you to begin with? And how do we reclaim ownership of ourselves if we still let the fear of the white-monied-male gaze – or the worry of even hurting the black community – dictate how we choose to share our bodies, particularly as expression, with the rest of the world? It’s hard to say where Rihanna herself fits into this dichotomy between a healthy sexuality and one contrived by the dominate culture. I have to say that her dress being made using Swarovski crystals, a sponsor of the event, is not without its critique. However, and judging by the video of her twerking in her sheer gown without a care moments after winning Fashion Icon of the Year, I have to say that she really doesn’t appear to be oppressed to me. In fact, she seems to be having fun and enjoying it all. For that, I give her the utmost respect.



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  • hello

    I’m all for equality and if other races can do which they have, why not Rih…….. We see women showing their goods around town all the time, won’t be the first or the last, but us women have to always complain and put another sista down, it’s in our DNA.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    The freedom this culture aspires to seems exclusively interested in liberating itself of yesterday’s ideas about ethics and morality. Freedom today seems only to be found in indulgence and hedonism.

    It’s a joke that sexuality can only be expressed in one very narrow and rigid way.

    • what’s freedom?

      right, and to say this and that about one’s decision…it’s her decision what’s wrong in her embracing herself…shouldn’t we all embrace ourselves the way WE want?!?!

      • Stacy D. Smith

        So I’m clear, embracing yourself requires you to be scantily clad?

  • Mia

    Rihanna doesn’t represent black American women just like kim Kardashian doesn’t represent white American women. Black college girls , Nurses, lawyers, and even store clerks don’t dress like that. So I’m confused. That girl on the left is a regular person rihanna is not a regular woman on any level. People are so quick to jump conclusions but when its turned around on them they can see how ridiculous their generalizations are.

    • Perception is key…

      one of the best comments I’ve read in a week about this. People are so quick to generalize everything and everyone, but to put it simply, who is anyone to judge HER decisions, it’s her life…like it, love it, or don’t, but ppl need to stop saying she’s wrong. There is no such thing is doing anything wrong, when you are living right by YOUR standards….

  • Nehes Ba’a Rayay

    I know nothing of the CDFA Awards. I do know that some diabolical, malevolent Sex Force has crept into this Society and consumed the minds of this IMPRESSIONABLE generation. and it’s being regarded as ”Tasteful Art”. whether it’s Beyonce’s Performance at this recent Grammy Awards, almost everything that Nikki Minaj is doing and now this..I mean, if you’re really honest with yourself you have to admit that this society’s infrastructure is DETERIORATING internally. The Moral Fiber has Dissolved. #theblindinglightofmisinformationmustend

  • girlwedon’tcaretoseeyournaked

    rihanna is a exhibitionist.

  • KeepingItReal

    Leave Rihanna alone. Nothing about our society is respectable…white and black alike. I think she looks gorgeous in the gown. You go girl!

  • proud.to.be.mommy.wife

    Many of my fellow black women have low self esteem. This is why we have weight issues and baby mama and daddy issues. Im talking about black women not any other race. Rihanna is a girl with low self esteem. But instead of black women saying that we should not accept this behavior as everyday ok, we have people questioning sexiness and championing this mess. Stop accepting this liberal crap as the pathway for our future. Stop listening to single, unhappy women maskimg their loneliness with this with this rhetoric. As bw we need to respect ourselves and stop looking to a girl who smokes weed in public, bullies a fan, dresses inappropriately and loves a man who kicked her behind. Bw always claim to love thenselves but i dont see it.

  • mmmdot

    Another article I really love from Charing! I totally agree. I actually studied fashion, and I am aware of the CFDA awards. I’m also a fashion history nerd, so when I saw Rihanna’s dress, I *IMMEDIATELY* thought of the 1930’s and Josephine Baker and Jean Harlow. These women were sewn into dresses that were backless, damn near see-through, without any underwear. I repeat, they were wearing this skimpy clothing back in *1930’s.* And Josephine Baker regularly posed nxde in the 1920’s and the 1930’s–people WERE NOT that innocent back in the day. Rihanna’s dress isn’t the problem, the problem is any peabrain who is stupid enough to look at an outfit 1950’s and have the audacity to suggest that black women should ever be subjected to an era like that again. If people want to know what the 1950’s were like for “respectable” black women, they should look up Ruby McCollum. Then they need to shut the hell up.

    Instead of being morons who preach about respectability politics, more black people need to brush up on their history. Respectability politics haven’t worked to protect black women from being stereotyped YET, so how about black folks allow black women to fully express themselves as multifaceted human beings? A black woman may be loud, but she can be loud because that’s her personality, and not because she’s black. She could ALSO have an Ivy League education. Having a NUMBER of different qualities all rolled into one makes us HUMAN BEINGS. Being multifaceted is what makes us human and black people are ALLOWED to be human.

    • ok

      Black women are not allowed to be women…the black womans sensuality and beauty is not her own it is strickly for her man period..! (sarcasm)

    • sycamore

      Honestly, I think the meme was just talking about FASHION CHOICES and not the other things that happened in the 1950s…

      • mmmdot

        No, under the 1950’s photo it said: Respect, classy, didn’t give her body up freely. These are CHARACTER TRAITS that this person is attributing to young black women in the 1950’s. They are saying that Rihanna’s attire is a sign that those character traits are no longer being exhibited by young black women today–which is fxcking ignorant. There are PLENTY of respectful, classy young black women today who don’t give their bodies up freely. Furthermore, wanting black women to behave more like they “supposedly” did in the 50’s is a frightening prospect. The 1950’s were not an idyllic time for black people, so why would we want any black person to have to conduct themselves as though they were back living under Jim Crow? It’s fxcking absurd. People need to stop watching what the idiot box is telling them about how idyllic life was that era and read a book, so that they can figure out what life was TRULY like for the black people in the 1950’s. Most black women back then had to conduct themselves in a certain way in public because they were living under a LEGAL racial apartheid and they could literally be killed or raped by anyone at any time.

    • hollyw

      I caught the flapper element, as well, and I majored in Psychology lol(plus did a Josephine Baker bio in 7th grade, not gonna lie)… some folks just love to dish on others.

      • mmmdot

        Lol, I think I did a bio on Josephine in middle school too. I love the fact that she didn’t seem to give a fxck and did whatever the hell she wanted to do. I actually think she’s a lot like Rihanna in that way. Oh and I just want to let you know that flappers were more in the 1920’s, lol.The 20’s were about showing off the legs and knees, being boyish, and hiding the body’s curves and the 30’s were about showing off the shoulders and back and wearing dresses that were cut on the bias to make them more body clinging. That’s why the 1930’s immediately came to mind when I saw Rihanna’s dress.

        • hollyw

          You’re right, the Roaring 20s was the flapper era. I have zero sense of the 30s, anything with a head wrap and some shingles is 20s to me lol…makes sense!

  • Stixie!

    What’s the difference between Rihanna and Josephine Baker?

    • MeMeMe

      Rihanna is allowing herself to be seen like this in family settings, not ADULT ONLY entertainment like Ms. Josephine. That is the difference

      • NuI

        The CFDA is not a family event nor was it televised.

        • sycamore

          A fashion awards ceremony isn’t exclusive to adults lol

          • NuI

            It’s still not a family event

      • hollyw

        What family settings..?

        • MeMeMe

          E! , Entertainment Tonight, etc…if the event wasn’t highly covered then how would we (the GENERAL public, adults AND kids) know about it.

          • hollyw

            You are reaching. Those aren’t children’s channels, it was during primetime, and this show holds zero interest for children. A child being exposed to it, therefore, would shine more poorly on the parents than these celebrities.
            If you want to make the “decency” argument, that’s fine, but I think you could do so without trying to create an additional, weaker argument about “traumatized” children.

            • MeMeMe

              Whose children are “traumatized”? I am not reaching you know this. I swear some of you guys act like kids aren’t handed iPhones and Androids when they’re ten and younger these days and can flip through these pictures just as easily as you just made that comment. Her outfit is not decent in my eyes whatsoever but I guess that’s just how I was raised, but still that’s my opinion and I don’t expect you to understand it.

              • hollyw

                You’re personal opinion was never up for debate, MeMeMe; only your stance they Rihanna’s distinction from Josephine Baker was that she was allowing herself to be seen in “family settings”, which I think has been pretty well disproven at this point, so I’ll just leave you at that. An iPhone does not a family setting make, and what you were reaching in. Have a good one.

  • …)

    It really is disappointing that some ppl see nothing wrong here. Some things are just not meant for everyones eyes. I get that shes a entertainer & all but seriously where do we draw the line? Yes, we should be comfortable in our own skin but nudity should NEVER be this casual.

    • hollyw

      I think that’s the point. It’s not for you to draw the line for someone else’s wardrobe choice. We already have laws that govern how much we can expose; don’t need laypersons trying to lay the law down, as well.

  • ChildChildChild

    I was at the beauty shop the other day. A little girl about 8 was getting her dreads tightened. She was there before I came so all I saw until she got up was her in the cover up. When she finally got up to leave she had on booty shorts so small and tight I could not imagine her having on any underwear. She was 8 and I was outraged…RiRi did not buy those shorts for her—momma did. My issue is with what little girls who have parents wear, not what a grown women (who already told you that she was not your child’s role model) wears.

    • BeautyQueen

      I’ve seen some little girls (ages 8-13) in pum pum shorts that has a piece of their a*s hanging out (mostly white girls), and they are sometimes with one parent when in this attire. SMH. The pedos enjoy this free show when they see these little girls outside.

  • MeMeMe

    How did this become about RACE? The meme clearly says YOUNG WOMEN. Not specifically black women. The second half of this article is a complete misinterpretation of that meme. Just saying

    • nik

      Oh c’mon! You know damn well that meme was speaking specifically to black women because if it weren’t the person who made it would have put up white women for both. There is no white person in the entire world that when making a meme about “respectability” that would put up a 50s picture of a little black girl.

      • MeMeMe

        Seeing as though the topic is clearly Rihanna’s raunchy outfit it would make no sense to put white women on both…This meme is focusing on how low women have fallen as far as standards, not just black women but ALL “YOUNG WOMEN”. If it was a picture of a little white girl from the 50s you would’ve said it wasn’t a fair comparison…

        • nik

          So it was a black woman thing because you just said it wouldn’t make sense if the picture had both races. Meaning it only addresses one group, black women.

          • MeMeMe

            Would it make you feel better to have a white version with a whorish white celebrity? Hispanic? Maybe even Asian? Nothing I get from that meme is racial and that’s my opinion. I see gender, not race.

            • nik

              No, it would make me feel better if people didn’t try to act as if issues aren’t racialized. The use of the word “fast” in the second picture is a word exclusively associated with the black community. But alright, it’s your opinion.

              • mmmdot


  • bigdede

    The Black women in the 50’s started the whole “single mother” trend IMO. A lot of Black children born during this time was raised w/o their fathers. And the cycle just continued. So yeah they dressed up but took them clothes off just fast. JMO

    • BeautyQueen

      You mean the dead beat ninjas started this trend. Nice try

      • bigdede

        No one owns your body but you! Women back then just like women know don’t have to open their legs to every guy who tells them they are cute. Women back then just like now can say no or make a guy wear a condom. There were condoms back in the 50’s. It’s your body. It makes no sense that a woman wouldn’t want to protect her own body. Half of the women back in the 50’s (like my grandma) weren’t married and had sex with men but didn’t protect themselves and ended up pregnant. Yeah the men are dead beats for not taking care of their responsibilities but in the end the woman should be protecting themselves. That’s how I was raised and when I do decide to have a child, I will teach my child that.

        • hollyw

          Contraception didn’t become publicly available until the 60s, and abortion in the 80s, just so you know. If you’re gonna inaccurately blame, could at least have the facts correct, ijs.

          • bigdede

            Then what was my grandmother using in the 50’s? Also they were doing abortions back in the 40’s!

            • hollyw

              Errm I have no idea what your grandmother used sir; I’m sure you could find that out more easily than I… Don’t be obtuse; NO abortions were accessible by the general public, as I said, until Roe v. Wade. Just stop.

      • JettMane

        No the WOMEN did after welfare made men obsolete in the 60’s, it’s been a cycle ever since, black women can’t raise good future fathers alone.

  • YepSaidIt

    I am actually a couple of years from 40 and I like the dress. I think it is very adult so don’t buy it for your teenage daughter, but how is this any different from Cher in Bob Mackie? Fashion can be art. When I loose this little pooch around my mid section…I may have on less than that. If you look at her under the gown you can see that her stylist made certain everything was skin toned she is not naked.

  • Pam Cakes


  • A.J.

    That was actually Sojourner Truth who made the “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech. Just a heads up.
    On the one hand, I agree that people need to stop looking to the past as an idyll in which Black people, especially Black women, were free of the problems and issues that surface so often in modern discussions. I don’t deny the blatant racism and other oppressive forces that plagued African-Americans, nor the double standard which means that forces Black women to work three times as hard just to get an ounce of the respectability automatically afforded to white women. However, pushing all the problems of the past aside for a moment, I understand where people are coming from when they say that the levels of respectability seem to have decreased as the years go on. Yes, women should be in control of their image and be comfortable with how they choose to express themselves. But there are some things that are just inappropriate, regardless of who’s doing them, the time period, the context, etc. I feel that sometimes, people will use the “I’m taking charge of my image/sexuality” line as an excuse to go buck wild. There’s a major difference between a woman saying: “You know what? I’m going to wear this top, even if it does expose my cleavage, because I like it, it looks nice on me, and there’s nothing offensive about it. If somebody doesn’t like it, that’s they’re problem, not mine, because I’m still a decent person.” and someone like Rihanna wearing what she did.

  • Shawnna Ramsey

    “Ain’t I a Woman” isn’t Harriet Tubman’s. It was Sojourner Truth’s.

    • charingb

      Thanks. A silly mistake I always make.

  • josie

    I like rihanna I think she cool, like a lot of her music even but to call walking naked someone being an icon nowwww I have a problem with that, I believe each woman affects her time in her own way, we live in a time where female nudity is just a walk in d park… I just think women sacrifice too much integrity this days. P.s alot of things experienced in 1950s still happen today…. We just have to keep choosing to affect our environment with positivity everyday of our life.

    • Chelsea M

      They announced she was getting that award weeks ago. Nobody knew what she was going to wear to this event. And if they did, they probably thought she was going to wear a bra

      • hollyw

        I’m gonna go ahead and say they probably didn’t think she was gonna wear a bra lol. This is Rihanna, after all…

  • guest

    For me it was about the dress and what it reprecents to these young ladies that idolizes her, yeah she doesn’t care but that doesn’t change the fact that they do. Second her safety when you hear things like she has stalkers and someone broke into her home. I worry. I just feel she could have expresseed herself with a little more material. It’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. P.S. I am a mother of one of thopse young impressionable young ladies who loves Rihanna. And please if your gonna comment save all the well you should be a role model for your child. I’m a BSRN have been for 17 yrs. You can have lawyers ,doctors and businessmen/women and young people will still idolize celebs it’s just the way it is,.

    • guest


    • bigdede

      I never idolized any celebrity as a child and neither did my sister. I thought my parents hung the sun and moon! So that’s not true that children will idolize these celebrities. Spend more time with your child and teach them values and maybe they would idolize you instead of a singer. Jmo. I wasn’t watching tv 24/7 or on the internet all day. None of these celebrities own anyone anything. If Rihanna wants to save her pub hairs on tv, it’s her right. She don’t know you or your kids so why she has to change for you. You really expect a woman in her mid 20’s to try to please millions of people? please.

      • sycamore

        I hope you realize that there is a period of time where kids will be influenced by the media, no matter what their parents say.

        • be responsible for yourself..

          yes, but it depends on the childs influential factors (good or bad), which of course is their parents responsibility to embed it in them. My mother allowed us to do whatever, but she had an open conversation with us and didn’t sugar coat things, so we were aware of the consequences with the good and the bad…Rihanna is an entertainer, and it is important to know the difference between her entertaining ppl, and the reality behind it…her decisions should not affect anyone…unless you allow it…

    • Bgirl

      BSRN, huh? And you don’t know the difference between your/you’re. Yikes. People make mistakes, but don’t throw your degree out there when you can’t grasp simple grammar rules.

      • Erica

        How can you assumed someone doesn’t know the the difference between your/you’re by one comment on the internet. That was a cheap shot. I completely agree with her. I was raised not to idolize celebrities or anything else other then besides God. Rihanna looks very unhappy she is a beautiful woman. However, she has to do things like this to keep the worlds attention. It’s just like seeing women who are not famous with hardly any clothes on walking around in public. Most people stare, point and laugh in disbelief that someone would walk out like that. She is a grown woman and she can do whatever she please. However, I will raised my daughter to have self respect for herself and her body. I’m disappointed at Rihanna I use to enjoy her style.

      • Mia

        Girl bye she is a Nurse been a RN with a BS degree for 17 years which means she has the means to make grammical errors. You on the other hand need to worry about your education u probably just finished an English course and think u know something little Bgirl.

  • Britt

    I’ll just say this…What I’ve noticed is that when it comes to Rihanna, folks get REAL liberal about nudity. Where were all these people when BET and hip-hop were catching heat over the scantily clad women in music videos? There was respectability politics involved in that backlash because people felt those videos were disrespectful to women, when the women in those videos seemed to be enjoying themselves and agreed to be in them.

    I just see a lot of inconsistencies in these types of discussions, because it seems like people only want to be liberal and free-thinking when it comes to what Rihanna is wearing. I said this on another post, but if this were Miley Cyrus or Draya or any other woman, the defending would be at a minimum.

    • Shawndrea Rachelle

      Amen!! Amen!!

    • KIR12

      Charing, can YOU please verify FACTS before regurgitating Black Feminist half truths and outright lies.

      “while dad sat unemployed”…….

      Black men worked they just weren’t paid much or less than white men doing the same job. Remember King was killed in Memphis protesting black garbage men being paid half of whites doing the same job. Yes, black women in the 60’s were limited or discouraged from education but SO WERE BLACK MEN. If they got a degree, the only job they could get was as a teacher.

      Dr. Walter Williams George Mason University, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics
      “From 1900 to 1954, blacks were more active than whites in the labor market. Until about 1960, black male labor force participation in every age group was equal to or greater than that of whites. During that period, black teen unemployment was roughly equal to or less than white teen unemployment. As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it’s about 30 percent longer.”


    • louvres

      Yep! At the end of the day it’s not WHAT is done but WHO does it..

    • I_am_a_Gladiator/Scandalista

      Where was the heat? Un-cut no longer exists on BET due to audience complaints.

  • Guest

    you are absolutely right about how many people probably never heard of the cdfa awards. this whole respectability crap really annoys me. rihanna has the type of life where she can do things like this. she is an entertainer and obviously an icon (to some). i think we should all wear whatever.
    in nyc, where she was, you can be topless so it’s not like she was doing anything illegal. there’s probably even worse photos on instagram that no one bats an eye at. if people think that rihanna’s choices represent that of all black women, well then they are obviously not very bright.

    • yoda

      i tried to edit this comment for cfda but it wouldn’t let me even after i tried deleting ugh

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