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BRIEF: Rihanna’s Hindu god reference falls flat

rihanna, singer, pop star

Rihanna made news again this week for all the wrong reasons. The Barbados-born singer posted a picture of herself modelling her latest lingerie collection, Savage X Fenty. She was topless, albeit with her arms across her chest, and wore lavender coloured silk shorts. So far so normal for a pop star. But she also, inexplicably, wore a prominent pendant of the Hindu god Ganesha. The picture caused an uproar on social media; many objected to Rihanna’s appropriation of Hindu culture and religion for aesthetic purposes. Her tattoos of traditional Indian henna designs were also prominently displayed. Last week model Jhardan Reign wore lingerie items from the same brand, while posing provocatively in front of a Hindu temple. If they’re trying to reference the Hindu faith in this new line, it’s rather distasteful.

 And not particularly well done. Plus the brand has been here before. Last year they had to apologise after using sacred Islamic verses in a song during a lingerie fashion show. We love Riri for mainstreaming different body types and skin tones in her various brands. Now she needs to do better at honouring religions.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 18 February 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.