Rihanna is no stranger when it comes to speaking on racial injustices.
In February 2020, Rih’s 51st NAACP Image Awards acceptance speech hit viral status after she called on people “to pull up” and show up for those who need it regardless of their background.
While speaking to British Vogue, she expounded upon her thoughts on racism and why she’s so driven to use her massive platform to shine a light on what's happening to Black people around the globe. Rih said that seeing firsthand how her Guyanese mother was subjected to discrimination while she was growing up in Barbados greatly impacted her outlook on the matter.
“The Guyanese are like the Mexicans of Barbados,” she explained to British Vogue. “So I identify – and that’s why I really relate and empathise with Mexican people, or Latino people, who are discriminated against in America. I know what it feels like to have the immigration come into your home in the middle of the night and drag people out.”
“Not my mother, my mother was legal,” she added, “but let’s just say I know what that fight looks like. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve been in it. I was probably, what, eight-years-old when I experienced that in the middle of the night. So I know how disheartening it is for a child – and if that was my parent that was getting dragged out of my house, I can guarantee you that my life would have been [in] shambles.”
Because of her personal experiences with racism, the Fenty mogul says it is hard for her “to turn a blind eye” to many injustices that are still happening to this day. “It’s hard to pretend it’s not happening,” she expressed. “The things that I refuse to stay silent on, these are things that I genuinely believe in.”
Even though she's called London her home for the past few years, Rihanna said that “racism is alive everywhere.”
“It’s the same [in the United Kingdom]. It’s either blatant, which is becoming more and more of a norm, or it’s underlying, where people don’t even know they’re being obvious about it,” she said. “You know, it’s just a subconscious layer that’s embedded from their entire core.”
Read the rest of her British Vogue profile here.
(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)