Rihanna and representations of black women

October 13, 2016

Come and put your name on it,” is the first line in Rihanna’s song “Birthday Cake.” She is referring to her female anatomy as she dances in a hip-centered motion, reminiscent of Caribbean movement.

Across the globe, reactions to the song’s connotation and the provocative dancing varied greatly, each individual interpreting the sequence of events based on their own experiences, culture, race and gender. Regardless of the response to the song, the fact that Rihanna’s persona and image are an implication of something greater than herself cannot be denied.

In this episode of the Oxford Comment, Adanna Jones, contributor to the Oxford Handbooks Online, Oneka LaBennett, author of She’s Mad Real: Popular Culture and West Indian Girls in Brooklyn, and Treva Lindsey, author of the forthcoming Colored No More: New Negro Womanhood in the Nation’s Capital, discuss the transnational icon, born in Barbados with Guyanese roots instilled from her upbringing, that challenges the exploitation of the black female body, female empowerment, and what that means in a global space.  More