Rihanna and artist Lorna Simpson turn heads in the January/February issue of Essence Magazine. The 12-page feature explores Lorna’s interpretation of Rihanna embracing the elements of Earth & Sky. The end result is a whimsical rendition of an alluring Mother Earth.
As expected, Rihanna wore nothing but the best for her Essence cover shoot. Her wardrobe consisted of brands like Savage X Fenty, Prada, Givenchy, Hood by Air, Thelma West, Rick Owens and more.
Lorna executed her vision for this issue with precision. Through her creative process, she was able to capture the essence of Rihanna while creating a beautiful earthly backdrop. “…I needed to create images of Rihanna to place within the environments of source materials from my archive. For the project to have the same kind of dramatic visual intensity as my collage work to date, I had to consider the atmosphere and lighting of specific source materials before arriving to set. Knowing Rihanna’s charisma and commanding presence, my effort was then to be as present and prepared as possible to capture her exquisite performance for the camera…”
How iconic to have these two forces come together to create such powerful, regal imagery. In all the magazine features that Rihanna has been part of, she’s never been captured in this light.
The mystical images speak to the inner power of a woman. Rihanna looks like she’s channeling all the elements of the earth, and transmuting it into healing energy for the world. 2020 explored the resilience of Black women. While society didn’t do much to save us, we managed to come through and save the world in more ways than one. When I look at these images, I see the strength and endurance of a Black woman, and her dedication to creating change.
You can check out the full spread on Essence.com. What do you think? Are you feelin’ Rihanna’s new cover?