Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty Show Sparks Outrage Amongst the Muslim Community

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Since I was a young pre-teen, I would listen to Rihanna’s songs. Being a girl with brown skin, I considered Rihanna to be very inspirational. The way she embraced her skin’s dark shade encouraged confidence in me. And whenever I would see her up on stage, singing, and grooving, I considered her to be my role model.

In a world full of women trying to prove their beauty with their fair skins, Rihanna was a woman who inspired me to embrace my brown skin. She taught me: Brown IS beautiful.

However, the recent news circulating the internet broke my heart, and I felt a sudden rage of anguish, hatred, and sorrow. I had mixed feelings because mainstream media has repeatedly maligned Muslims since the beginning of the television era. For instance, portraying Muslim women as ‘damsels in distress’ in TV shows such as Hala and Elite, women who toss away their cultures or traditions for a white boy, or a woman who is pressed in her own home and is in dire need of saving from a ‘westerner.’ Even though, the reality is most of the times far from this portrayal.

On 2nd October, during a lingerie show of Savage x Fenty, Rihanna portrayed her lingerie collection on a song called ‘Doom’ by London producer Coucou Chloe. That song contained texts from Hadith by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). She used a sacred religious text as an ‘aesthetic’ for her bikini models.

In a particular segment of the show, models danced and grooved provocatively in almost half-naked clothes on Coucou’s song “Doom.” The recitation of the hadith used in the song was done by a Kuwaiti scholar and Qur’an reciter, Sheikh Mishary Al-Afsi.

After the initial release of the “Savage x Fenty” show, Muslims started expressing their disappointment and fury through social media. Many non-Muslims joined in to share discontentment over Rihanna’s act.

Rihanna, a woman who was praised for promoting diversity and equality for people from all backgrounds, severely disappointed her Muslim fans. Various people have also noted that Rihanna used the same song “Doom” in another one of her fashion shows, nearly three years ago.

Later, Coucou, the song director, issued a public apology on twitter. “I want to deeply apologize for the offense caused by the vocal samples used in my song ‘DOOM.’ The song was created using samples from Baile Funk tracks I found online. At the time, I was not aware that these samples used text from an Islamic Hadith.” she wrote.

“I take full responsibility for the fact I did not research these words properly and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to explain this to me. We have been in the process of having the song urgently removed from all streaming platforms.”

The song drew on the judgment day theme for the segment of hadith. There was no way she did not know the hadith’s meaning and named her song upon the same theme as the hadith. Nevertheless, people accepted her apology.

On October 6, Rihanna took to Instagram to post a public apology as well.

“I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our Savage X Fenty show. I would, more importantly, like to apologize to you for this honest, yet careless mistake. We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and I’m incredibly disheartened by this! I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion, and therefore the use of the song in our project was completely irresponsible! Moving forward, we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding. Rih.” She wrote on her Instagram story.

What do you think? Was the song being played on purpose despite the song owners knowing its meaning, or were they mistaken? Comment down below to share your views!

Eman Khalid

Eman Khalid is a writer, editor, storyteller, and a journalist. She has been a co-author of more than twenty poetry books. She is a contributing writer to the Women's Republic, the Meraki Magazine, Litlight Magazine, Prosart Literary, Kitaab, StoryHouse UK, and The Latest. Eman is an English Language and Literature major born and raised in the Middle East (Kuwait). She has a deep passion for reading about inspirational women from the past. When she is not writing, you will find her reading books, listening to songs and taking long walks at the beach.

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