Rihanna was recently compared to Princess Diana in the UK magazine, Sunday Times and the popular pop star snapped a shot of the cover and placed it on her Instagram account, naming it “extraordinaRIHbehavior.” Clever. However, once I was able to get past the two beautiful faces placed together, I realized this was indeed a comparison. Then I wondered–how does Rihanna compare to Princess Diana?
“Diana and Rihanna began as sensitive, wounded, but appealingly bubbly and good-natured provincial girls who slowly discovered their own photogenic virtuosity and began to conceptualize themselves as living sculpture for the lens. Both developed a false intimacy with photographers and the public and began to cannibalize themselves in their futile search for security in love. Diana, rebuffed, eventually accepted her exile. But Rihanna, in the classic syndrome of the battered woman, still pities and hopes to change and save her abuser…”
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Maybe the comparison surfaced because of Rihanna’s brutal attack at a club recently? [insert sarcasm here] Clearly that compares to Princess Diana’s tragic death.
I remember following along with the rest of the world’s obsession with Princess Diana. She represented a childhood fantasy for most–the beautiful and fascinating depiction of a real-life princess.
While Rihanna may not be an real princess–we do regard her highly as the Princess of Roc Nation and sort of the Princess of Pop/R&B (let’s call it Pop & B)–she is by no means royalty. So the comparison isn’t necessarily extended from the obvious. But more so from the tragic tale of public figure and voyeurism that is (and was) their lives.
Princess Diana wanted to rebel from the strict constraints of princess life, so she courted the cameras, allowing the paparazzi to enter intimate moments of her life, thus feeding their fire for more. I guess you could say Princess Diana made the paparazzi into who they are today–photographers hungry for sensational candid shots of the people we can’t stop gossiping about.
Rihanna keeps those same cameras snapping, but she is also in charge of the images of herself that are released because of new social media platforms like Instagram. Rihanna uses this medium to bring us closer to her, sharing visually and emotionally intimate photos which excite a reaction–whether good or bad. Princess Diana may have had that same M.O. when she bounced around the world, surrounded by an air of luxury many of us could only imagine. The article states:
“By her gallery of splendid stills, Rihanna thinks she can stop the tormenting flux of emotion, but her brilliant eye is helpless against the tyranny of the heart.”
It’s obvious that Rihanna has that same type of rebellion, but acts out much harder (for lack of a better word) than Diana ever did. From her public and taboo breakup to make up with Chris Brown to her in-you-face bad girl ways, Rihanna defines what it is to be a rebel. And so did Princess Diana. In this regard, I understand the comparison.
Rihanna is indeed a living sculpture and I can’t lie; her beauty leads me to want more. Every time I see a new candid shot on Instagram, I find myself making up the subtext of the photos, creating rich and fabulous scenarios in my head about her life until I’m satisfied. Princess Diana was the same. We made up royal and regal details of the princess’ life based on the stunning still photos of her various adventures. However, is that enough to say that her life mirrors that of Rihanna’s?
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