The first time I heard a Rihanna song I was on a 24-hour break from being a counselor at a summer cap. My fellow counselors and I listened to “SOS” as many times as we heard it on the radio, which was a lot. But, like a lot of people, I didn’t really decide to like Rihanna until she released “Umbrella” in 2007. And it seems like Adele feels the same way.
I actually can’t remember the first time I met Rihanna; I was probably numb from the shock of it. She is one year older than me, but I feel like she’s been around forever. The progression of her superstardom feels steady, well deserved and extremely natural. She burst onto the scene with the absolute banger that is “Pon de Replay” in 2005, so young and breathtakingly beautiful. But the first time it felt like she made everyone sit up was with “Umbrella.” It crossed her over to every platform and into everyone’s lives. It felt like she had truly arrived, and she hasn’t slowed down since. Even more, she has designed and conquered an entire lane of her own. The innovative and groundbreaking world of Rihanna that no one else will ever be safe in and get away with copying. She makes her own rules and bends ours.
Whenever I’ve met her, she’s been the most gracious, loyal and funny goofball of an icon. She glows like when someone’s taken a picture with a flash and you’re dazed for a few minutes after. But it’s also very clear in that glow that she genuinely doesn’t give a f-ck; she’s fearless and full of all the right kind of attitude to be everything that she is and will be forever.
And now, I only want to listen to Rihanna for the rest of the week.