Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show has been viewed through the lens of its boldness to make statements about inclusivity, diversity, liberation, and creativity over the past three years. We have seen a lot of what Rihanna has been doing being described as "movement" and granted, we have seen the strides made by the show contributing to challenging stereotypes and narratives as well as become part of a greater cultural shift.
However, during the show, Rihanna released a short video interview in which she discusses how inclusivity is not only the foundation of her craft, but also her only belief. This encourages us to reassess our understanding of her work as a whole and to try to grasp the context in which her artistic statement is intended.
Inclusivity is a thing because people are making it a thing but for me, I only know my household, my childhood, my mom. She's a black woman with curves. I don't know anything else.
By calling Rihanna's work a movement, one is assuming people weren't already bold, sexually liberated, and unapologetic. This that we see now is not newly learnt energy, it is the outward manifestation of all parts overlooked. When we see the likes of Jazmine Sullivan and the appearance of a plus-size dance crew, our attention is being brought towards the truth. This is not a performance to make a statement, it is simply women doing what women do.
The Savage Fenty show has taken twerking and sexy dancing in front of the mirror in the privacy of our homes, lingerie shoots and nudes for ourselves or significant others and shown the world that bodies of all kinds, despite systems that oppose, can and will live firmly in a reality where their bodies are centre stage and uninterrupted.
So when I make something, I would be an idiot to exclude anyone from that. I don't care what race, religion or body type you are, I want you to feel represented here. - Rihanna
As Rihanna has done with this show, she is also teaching us about the reliance we have for waiting on society to validate us. We may never be able to curate every single space to be welcoming of diverse bodies, but here is evidence that waiting to be included is a futile endeavour. Another lesson here, perhaps, is that the real activism lies in living and breathing an organic truth that already lives within us and so moving from that premise, will change find and keep us.