As Rihanna’s Anti Tour continues, it is clear that her musical reign–one that has singlehandedly dominated pop culture for over the last decade–has no intentions of letting up. She is one of the best selling artists of all time and her reach goes far beyond music: Forbes once named her one of the most powerful celebrities in the world while the consistency and quality of her music has garnered her accolade after accolade. Before she gears up to take over Boston’s TD Garden this Sunday, here are our top five reasons why Rihanna is an undeniable modern day pop legend.
1) Rihanna’s music isn’t just topping charts and dominating airwaves–it’s breaking records and making history.
Not only has the Barbadian singer has sold over 200 million records worldwide, Rihanna has amassed more #1 Billboard hits than Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Whitney Houston. She is the only artist with Number One Hot 100 singles from seven consecutive studio albums. By Recording Industry Association standards, Rihanna is also the only artist to have more than 100 million gold and platinum song certifications. She is the first recipient of American Music Awards’ annual Icon Award and has several of the best selling singles of all time. Not only has she managed to churn out hit after hit through the span of her career, she proves that when it comes to music, she really does have the Midas touch.
2) She has proven that she can explore and experiment with various genres of music–and be extremely successful at doing it.
Rihanna’s musical versatility is demonstrated by all of the genres that can be found in her expansive catalogue. While she is primarily known as a Pop/R&B artist, she can effortlessly sing a hook on a rap song (like T.I.’s “Live Your Life”) then snag a Grammy award for Dance Recording of the Year with the inescapable “Only Girl (In The World).” She nailed the stripped down, acoustic angle with the Paul McCartney and Kanye West assisted “FourFiveSeconds” and loves to page homage to her culture by incorporating Carribbean rhythms, dances, and vernacular into songs such as “Rude Boy,” “Man Down,” and her latest single “Work.” Rihanna encapsulates an array of sounds and therefore constantly attracts (and keeps) new listeners.
3) Rihanna knows the power of an incredible music video–and knows how to make every visual count.
Over the years, Rihanna has become synonymous with the term reinvention. She uses every music video of hers to showcase a new look she’s into, a different stage of her life, or even a certain feeling or momentum that she wants to embody. “Umbrella” exhibited her more playful side while “Pour It Up” advertised unabashed and flagrant sexuality. “Work” contains more of a vibrant and celebratory Caribbean Dancehall vibe. The world’s most famous bad girl knows how to make every visual show off not her creativity and multidimensionality–which is especially meaningful considering she is as a woman of color in an industry that often pigeonholes or flat out ignores her experience.
4) Her triumphant foray into fashion world is unlike any of her contemporaries–and she is paving the way for those with similar aspirations.
Not only is Rihanna currently serving as the Creative Director of PUMA, she is the first black woman to be the face of Dior. Past fashion endeavors include designing clothes for her now defunct River Island collection and even producing the competition based series Styled to Rock. The Council of Fashion Designers of America declared her a fashion icon and earlier this month she announced a collaborative effort with Manolo Blahnik for an all denim shoe line. Many celebrities have attempted to venture into fashion, but not all of them have achieved results like Rih Rih. By breaking ground in this arena, she is making it easier for those who want to follow suit.
5) Rihanna’s resilience and strength in an industry that wasn’t made for her is something that isn’t the norm–and it needs to be acknowledged.
Rihanna’s career hasn’t been all hit singles and runways; it has been riddled with hardship women her age don’t usually experience or are forced to share. They include everything from very public breakups to troubling financial distress to racist magazine articles about her. She is often critiqued for having an overtly sexualized image; her videos are often denounced for being too graphic. Despite all of her personal strife and having her every move scrutinized, Rihanna seemingly has tunnel vision when it comes to focusing on her career and keeping her eyes on what’s important–and it has paid off in more ways anyone could have ever anticipated.