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Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988), known by her stage name Rihanna (pron.: // ree-AH-nə or // ree-AN-ə), is a Barbadian recording artist, actress and fashion designer. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, she began her career as a result of meeting record producer Evan Rogers in late 2003. At age 16, she moved to the United States to pursue a music career and began recording demo tapes under Rogers' guidance, subsequently signing a contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for American rapper Jay-Z.
Rihanna's debut studio album, Music of the Sun (2005), peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 top three hit single "Pon de Replay". Her second album, A Girl Like Me (2006), peaked at number five in the United States, and produced her first Hot 100 number one single, "SOS". Rihanna's third album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), spawned the international hit singles "Umbrella", "Don't Stop the Music", "Take a Bow", and "Disturbia". The album was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella". Her fourth album, Rated R (2009), produced the top ten singles "Russian Roulette" and "Hard", plus the number one hit "Rude Boy". Rihanna's fifth album, Loud (2010), spawned the number one hit singles "Only Girl (In the World)", "What's My Name?", and "S&M". Her sixth album, Talk That Talk (2011), served the worldwide chart topper "We Found Love" and the top five single "Where Have You Been". Rihanna's seventh album, Unapologetic (2012), became her first number one album on the Billboard 200 and generated her twelfth Hot 100 number one single "Diamonds" and the top five hit "Stay". In addition to her solo music, Rihanna has collaborated with numerous other artists, notably being featured on the worldwide hits "Live Your Life" (with T.I.) and "Love the Way You Lie" (with Eminem).
Rihanna's work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including seven Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, eighteen Billboard Music Awards and two BRIT Awards. Since the beginning of her career in 2005, Rihanna has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, which makes her one of the best-selling artists of all time. She has achieved a total of twelve number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the youngest solo artist to achieve the feat. Billboard named Rihanna the Digital Songs Artist of the 2000s decade, and ranked her as the seventeenth overall artist of the same decade. In 2012, Forbes ranked her as the fourth most powerful celebrity of 2012 with earnings of $53 million between May 2011 and May 2012. The same year, American magazine TIME named Rihanna one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados. Her mother is Monica Braithwaite, a retired Afro-Guyanese accountant, and her father is Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor of Barbadian and Irish descent. Rihanna has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty, and two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father's side, each born by different mothers from his previous relationships. Growing up in a three-bedroom bungalow in Bridgetown and selling clothes with her father on a street stall, Rihanna's childhood was deeply affected by her father's addiction to crack cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana, and her parents' turbulent marriage ended when she was 14. Rihanna grew up listening to reggae music and began singing at around the age of seven. She attended Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School and then the Combermere High School, where she formed a musical trio with two of her classmates. Rihanna was an army cadet in a sub-military programme; the singer-songwriter Shontelle was her drill sergeant. Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue a musical career instead.
Rihanna's career began through her association with American record producer Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers; she met Rogers through mutual friends in Barbados in December 2003. Rogers soon asked Rihanna to come to his hotel room, where she performed renditions of the songs "Emotion" and "Hero". This impressed Rogers, who then took her on various trips to New York, where she was accompanied by her mother, Monica, to record some demo tapes which could be sent to record labels. Rihanna was signed to Rogers' and Sturken's production company, Syndicated Rhythm Productions, who assigned her a lawyer and manager before the completed demo tape was distributed to various record labels around the world in 2004. In February 2005, the president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings Jay-Z requested to meet Rihanna and she auditioned for him and industry executive L.A. Reid, performing Whitney Houston's version of "For the Love of You" as well as the original songs "Pon de Replay" and "The Last Time". On the same day of the audition, Rihanna signed a six-album record deal with Def Jam Recordings, later relocating from Barbados to New York to live with Rogers and his wife.
Following her signing, Rihanna spent three months recording and completing her debut album and collaborated with rapper Memphis Bleek on his fourth studio album 534. The album featured production from Evan Rogers, Carl Sturken, Stargate and Poke & Tone. Her debut single, "Pon de Replay" was released on August 22, 2005 and charted highly across the world, peaking within the top five of fifteen countries including at number two on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. Her debut album, Music of the Sun was released later that month, peaking at number ten on the US Billboard 200 and receiving a Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of over 500,000 units. The album went on to sell over two million copies worldwide. It received mixed reviews by music critics; Rolling Stone magazine gave it two and a half out of five stars and described as lacking replay value, ingenuity and rhythm. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described the album as a "glut of teen R&B chanteuses" and expressed her lead single as "a dancehall-pop mixture that owes plenty of its sweat and shimmy to Beyoncé's "Baby Boy". A second single, "If It's Lovin' that You Want", was not as successful as its predecessor, despite reaching the top ten in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. In October 2005, Rihanna struck an endorsement deal with Secret Body Spray; her first of many.
A month after the release of her debut album, Rihanna began working on her second studio album. The record contained production from Evan Rogers, Carl Sturken, Stargate, J. R. Rotem and label-mate singer-songwriter Ne-Yo. A Girl Like Me was released in April 2006, less than eight months after its predecessor. Critical response to the album was mixed; Rolling Stone commented, "Like her filler-packed debut album, this similar but superior follow-up doesn't deliver anything else as ingenious as its lead single." The album was a commercial success, charting inside the top ten of thirteen countries including at number one in Canada and number five in both the UK and the US, where it sold 115,000 copies in its first week. Its lead single, "SOS", was an international success following its March 2006 release, charting within the top five of eleven countries worldwide, including Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the song gave Rihanna her first number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and in Australia. "Unfaithful", the album's second single, was as commercially successful, reaching the top ten of eighteen countries including number one in Canada and Switzerland. "We Ride" and "Break It Off", the latter featuring Sean Paul, were also released as singles. Following the release of the album, Rihanna embarked on her first headlining tour, the Rihanna: Live in Concert Tour, as well as supporting The Pussycat Dolls on their PCD World Tour and performing alongside Jay-Z and Ne-Yo on the Rock Tha Block Tour.
For her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad, Rihanna embraced a new musical direction through uptempo dance tracks produced by the likes of Timbaland, will.i.am and Sean Garrett. Released in May 2007, the album topped the charts in multiple countries including the Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Russia and the UK and at number two in Australia and the US. The album received positive reviews from critics, becoming the most critically acclaimed of her first three albums. The album's lead single, "Umbrella", topped the charts in thirteen countries and remained number one in the UK for ten consecutive weeks, marking the longest-running number one single since Wet Wet Wet's single "Love Is All Around" spent fifteen weeks at the top in 1994. It became Rihanna's first single to be named one of the best-selling singles worldwide, having sold over 6.6 million singles since being released. The songs "Shut Up and Drive", "Hate That I Love You" (featuring Ne-Yo) and "Don't Stop The Music" were also released as singles. In support of the album, she began her second headlining tour, the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour in September 2007, with a total of 80 shows across the US, Canada and Europe. The same month, Rihanna became the official face of tourism for Barbados and subsequently featured in many of their advertising campaigns; she holds the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados. The 2008 Grammy Awards saw Rihanna nominated for a string of awards, winning for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella" alongside Jay-Z.
Throughout 2008, Rihanna performed on the Glow in the Dark Tour alongside Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and N.E.R.D. On February 20, 2008, Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson presented the singer with several gifts at a national concert in an event named "Rihanna Day". Her third album's reissue, Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, was released in June 2008 with three new songs; Disturbia, Take a Bow and the Maroon 5 duet "If I Never See Your Face Again". All three were released as singles and charted highly, reaching peak positions across the world. In August 2008, Rihanna and a host of additional female singers, including Beyoncé Knowles, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, recorded the charity single "Just Stand Up!", the theme song to the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer. November that year saw the release of "Live Your Life", a duet between T.I. and Rihanna. The song peaked in the top ten in thirteen countries worldwide, topping the Billboard Hot 100.
A remix album, Good Girl Gone Bad: The Remixes, was released in January 2009. Good Girl Gone Bad has shipped over 2.7 million units in the United States alone, receiving a two-times-platinum certification from the RIAA and marking Rihanna's best-selling album to date in the country. Since its release, the album has sold over seven million copies worldwide.
On February 8, Rihanna's scheduled performance at the 51st Grammy Awards was cancelled. Reports later surfaced regarding an altercation with then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, who was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats. On March 5, 2009, Brown was charged with assault and making criminal threats. Due to a leaked photograph from the Los Angeles Police Department obtained by TMZ.com — which revealed that Rihanna had sustained visible injuries — an organization known as STOParazzi proposed a law called "Rihanna's Law," which, if enacted, would "deter employees of law enforcement agencies from releasing photos or information that exploits crime victims." Gil Kaufman of VH1 reported the "nonstop coverage of the Rihanna/Brown case has brought up a number of issues regarding the privacy of alleged victims of domestic violence, including the decision by almost all major news outlets to divulge the identity of the victim — which is not typically done in domestic-violence cases" and the controversial distribution of the leaked photograph. Rihanna was subpoenaed to testify during a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles on June 22, 2009. On June 22, 2009, Brown pled guilty to the felony assault. In exchange for his plea Brown received five years probation and was ordered to stay fifty yards (48 meters) away from Rihanna, unless at public events, which then would be reduced to ten yards (nine meters). However, in February 2011, at the request of Brown's lawyer, Judge Patricia Schnegg modified with Rihanna's consent the restraining order to a "level one order," allowing both singers to appear at awards shows together in the future.
Returning to music after the assault, Rihanna collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye West on "Run This Town", which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, number one in the UK, and reached the top ten in ten other countries after its July 2009 release. Her fourth studio album, Rated R, was released in November 2009. Critical response was favorable; Rolling Stone claimed that Rihanna "transformed her sound and made one of the best pop records of the year". The album's lead single, "Russian Roulette", received commercial success, reaching number one in Norway and Switzerland and making the top ten in sixteen other countries. This was followed by the release of "Hard" with Young Jeezy and "Rude Boy"; the latter became the biggest worldwide success from the album, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, as well as claiming top ten positions in twenty-two other countries. Two other singles were released from Rated R; "Rockstar 101" with Slash and "Te Amo". Rated R: Remixed was released in the spring of 2010 and featured ten tracks from the album remixed by Chew Fu. To further promote the album, she embarked on her second worldwide tour, the Last Girl on Earth Tour. At the 52nd Grammy Awards, "Run This Town" won 'Best Rap Song' and 'Best Rap/Sung Collaboration'.
During the summer of 2010, Rihanna collaborated with rapper Eminem on "Love the Way You Lie", which was a major worldwide success, reaching number one in over twenty countries worldwide. The song became Rihanna's seventh US number one of her career, making her the female artist with the fifth-most number ones in the chart's history. Despite reaching number two, the song became the biggest-selling song of 2010 in the UK, and the first of Rihanna's singles to sell over one million copies in the country. She also lent her vocals to "All of the Lights", a single from Kanye West's album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, alongside John Legend, The-Dream, Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Kid Cudi, and Elton John. In October 2010, it was announced that Rihanna would henceforth be managed by Jay-Z's label Roc Nation.
The following month saw the release of Loud, Rihanna's fifth studio album. Its lead single, "Only Girl (In the World)", reached number one in fifteen countries worldwide including Australia, Canada, the UK and US. The album's second single, "What's My Name?", featuring Drake, also reached number one in both the US and UK, making Rihanna the first female solo artist to have five number one singles in the United Kingdom in consecutive years. The song reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 before "Only Girl (In the World)", making it the first time in the chart's history that an album's lead single reached number one after the second. The third single, "S&M", also reached number one in the US after the release of its official remix featuring Britney Spears. It became Rihanna's tenth US number one single on the chart tying her with Janet Jackson in fourth place for female soloists who have topped the chart. With only four years, eleven months and two weeks between her first and tenth number one on the chart, Rihanna set a record as the solo artist with the fastest accumulation of ten chart toppers. "Man Down" and "California King Bed" were both released as singles in May 2011 with moderate success. "Cheers (Drink to That)" was released as the sixth and final single from the album, reaching the top twenty in the UK and the top ten in the US.
In February 2011, "Only Girl (In the World)" won the award for 'Best Dance Recording' at the 53rd Grammy Awards. In June 2011, Rihanna embarked on the Loud Tour, breaking a new record for selling out ten nights at the The O2 Arena in London, the most sold out shows for a female artist in the venue's history. The tour became the seventh highest grossing tour worldwide of 2011. The final three shows of the tour in London, December 2011 were filmed for Rihanna's second live video album which was released a year later on December 18, 2012, entitled Loud Tour Live at the O2. In October 2011, Nicki Minaj released the collaboration "Fly" featuring Rihanna from her album Pink Friday which peaked within the top twenty in both the US and UK.
Rihanna's sixth album, Talk That Talk, was released in November 2011. The lead single, "We Found Love", topped charts in twenty-five countries worldwide, peaking in the top ten in thirty countries and breaking a string of records worldwide. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for ten non-consecutive weeks and became Rihanna's longest-running number-one single as well as the longest-running number-one single of 2011. "You Da One" was released as the second single from the album and was a moderate success, reaching the top twenty in both the UK and US. The third single to be released was the titular, "Talk That Talk", featuring Jay-Z, followed by the simultaneous release of two collaborations between Rihanna and Chris Brown; remixes of her song "Birthday Cake" and his "Turn Up the Music" that received mainly negative responses due to the pair's history of domestic violence. "Where Have You Been", the fifth single became a success on charts worldwide, reaching number five in the US and six in the UK. "Cockiness (Love It)" was released as the album's sixth single in a remixed form featuring rapper ASAP Rocky.
In early 2012, two collaborations featuring Rihanna were released; Coldplay's "Princess of China" from the album Mylo Xyloto and Drake's "Take Care" from his album of the same name. In February 2012, Rihanna won her third Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2012 Grammy Awards, while also being voted the 'Best International Female Solo Artist' at the 2012 BRIT Awards for the second consecutive year. In September 2012, "We Found Love" won the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year, making Rihanna the first woman to be given the accolade more than once.
Rihanna's seventh studio album, Unapologetic, was released on November 19, 2012. In the United States, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with sales of 238,000, becoming Rihanna's first number one album in the country. In addition, it became the best-selling debut week of her career, besting her fifth studio album Loud (2010). The album also became Rihanna's third and fifth consecutive number one album in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The lead single from the album, "Diamonds" was released in September 2012 and reached number one in twenty-two countries worldwide including on the US Billboard Hot 100. The album's second single, "Stay", featuring Mikky Ekko, has reached the top five of twenty-four countries, including number three on the Billboard Hot 100. "Pour It Up" was released as the second US single and third overall, reaching number 19 on the Hot 100. An official remix featuring American rappers, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Juicy J and T.I. was later distributed. As promotion prior to the album's release, Rihanna embarked on the 777 Tour, a mini tour consisting of seven shows, in seven countries, lasting a duration of seven days. Rihanna's fifth headlining concert tour, the "Diamonds World Tour", began in March 2013.
In a January 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Rihanna confirmed that she had rekindled her relationship with Chris Brown, though Brown remained under probation for their 2009 domestic violence incident. The confirmation followed persistent media speculation throughout 2012 regarding a reunion between the pair. In a May 2013 interview, Brown stated that he and Rihanna had broken up again. In February 2013, Rihanna won her seventh Grammy Award in the category Best Short Form Music Video at the 55th Grammy Awards, for "We Found Love" (2011). Also in the same month, the Official Charts Company revealed that Rihanna had sold 3,868,000 records in the past year in the UK alone, ranking at number one in the list of 2013 BRIT Awards artist nominees.
Aside from her musical career, Rihanna has also ventured into other businesses and industries. In 2006, she created her Believe Foundation to help terminally ill children. Rihanna made her acting debut as a cameo role in the straight-to-DVD film Bring It On: All or Nothing, released in August 2006. To help raise awareness and combat HIV/AIDS, Rihanna and other public figures designed clothing for the February 2008 H&M Fashion Against AIDS line. In October 2010, the singer released an eponymous book. January 2011 saw the release of Rihanna's first fragrance, "Reb'l Fleur". The singer's first fashion range, for Armani, became available in November 2011. Rihanna starred as Petty Officer (GM2) Cora Raikes in her first theatrical feature film Battleship, which was released on May 18, 2012. Loosely based on the game of the same name, both the film and Rihanna's performance received mixed-to-negative reviews; The New York Times claimed she was "just fine in the rather generic role". She received a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress and, on a more positive note, a Teen Choice Award. She also appeared in Katy Perry: Part of Me, a 3D documentary-concert film centering on singer Katy Perry.
February 2012 saw the release of "Rebelle", Rihanna's second fragrance. Her first television program, Styled to Rock, premiered in the UK in August 2012 on Sky Living. The ten-week series saw Rihanna, Nicola Roberts, Lysa Cooper and Henry Holland assisting up-and-coming British designers with their own clothing lines. On August 19, 2012, Rihanna appeared in the first episode of the second season of Oprah Winfrey's American prime time television show Oprah's Next Chapter. The episode scored the second-highest telecast in the history of the Oprah Winfrey Network. In November 2012, she released her third fragrance, "Nude". In February 2013, Rihanna presented her first women's fashion collection at London Fashion Week for British street fashion brand River Island, collaborating with her personal stylist Adam Selman. Her second collection for the brand, a summer edition, will be released on May 25, 2013. In the same month, the singer released her own line of lipstick products entitled 'RiRi Woo' in collaboration with MAC Cosmetics. The collection sold out completely in three hours. She will appear in the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg comedy film This Is the End, set for release in June 2013. Rihanna's first men's fragrance entitled "Rogue" will be released on September 14, 2013, with a women's version also being distributed.
Rihanna has a contralto vocal range. While recoding tracks for her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad, Rihanna took vocal lessons from Ne-Yo stating, "I've never had vocal training, so when I'm in the studio, he'll tell me how to breathe and stuff. ... he'll call out these big fancy words: 'OK, I want you to do staccato.' And I'm like, 'OK, I don't know what that is.'" Her vocal performance on Loud (2010) received positive reviews from music critics: James Skinner from BBC praised Rihanna's vocals on the song "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" commented that her voice is powerful and that "it is Rihanna’s vocal – at once commanding, soulful and vulnerable – that anchors the song, and Loud itself" and Andy Gill from The Independent stated that "California King Bed" features her best vocal performance. Originally marketed as a reggae singer, Rihanna's musical genre has changed throughout the course of her career, which includes pop, R&B, hip hop, dance-pop and dancehall. Volume 65 of the Contemporary Black Biography book series notes that "Rihanna is the rare rhythm and blues (R&B) diva to emerge from the Caribbean world." Becoming an international sensation, Rihanna is known for blending R&B with Caribbean music, such as reggae and dancehall. At the time of her debut, reviewers referred to her as a "bubblegum queen" and her music to "teen pop." Some of her music is also inspired through sampling: "SOS", "Shut Up and Drive", "Don't Stop the Music", "Cheers (Drink to That)", and "Talk That Talk" all contain samples from other artist. Over the evolution of her career, she has branched out into house music with tracks like "We Found Love", "Only Girl (In the World)" and "Complicated."
Rihanna began her musical career recording songs that were inspired by caribbean music genres such as soca, dancehall and reggae as well as corporating dance-pop and R&B, because of her caribbean descent. The combination of dancehall and reggae genres on her debut album, Music of the Sun (2005), was complemented by Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times stating, "Dancehall reggae sometimes seems like a furiously insular form of music, but ... Rihanna is only the latest singer to discover how versatile the genre's spring-loaded electronic rhythms can be". Her debut album featured production from Stargate and production duo Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, who discovered her and helped launch her career with her debut single "Pon de Replay". A Girl Like Me (2006) saw Rihanna infuse a bit of rock music on the track "Kisses Don't Lie", a sound she would also use on tracks like "Shut Up and Drive" and "Rockstar 101". She enlisted into pop and R&B working again with Sturken and Rogers, J.R. Rotem and label-mate Ne-Yo. The ballads on the album were described as elegant, mature, and that it displays her artistic growth.
With Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), she took a different direction from the dancehall influence of her previous efforts with uptempo songs. stating that "[at] this stage I feel like I want to do a lot of uptempo [songs] ... but still be soulful at the same time." She worked with new producers on the album, including Timbaland, Sean Garrett, and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart who produced the international hit "Umbrella", which was a major breakthrough in her career. Rihanna again entered a new musical and lyrical direction with Rated R, departing from her previous up-tempo and dance-pop style with elements of hip hop, rock, dubstep and dancehall. Recorded after the assault by her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown, the album had a much darker tone and was filled with different emotions she experienced throughout 2009. Continuing to reinvent her music and sound with Loud (2010), she wanted to have more fun with her music and image while experimenting with new material stating, "with Loud, I got a bit more rebellious and did whatever I wanted to do. I reinvented my image and took creative control". The album differed from her previous release, which featured an angry tone with dark themes, whereas Loud reflects on the sassy, fun, flirty, and energetic attitude she had while recording the album. The album is a mixture of ballads, party anthems and empowering love songs with elements of up-tempo and pop genres, ranging from dance-pop to R&B. Described as "a sexy, sexual record", Talk That Talk (2011) was similar to Rated R, both containing hip hop, R&B, dancehall and dubstep genres. Loud and Talk That Talk also saw her return to her dancehall roots, evident in the tracks like "Man Down" and "Watch n' Learn".
Rihanna has named Madonna as her idol and biggest influence, and said she wants to be the "black Madonna". She said: "I think that Madonna was a great inspiration for me, especially on my earlier work. If I had to examine her evolution through time, I think she reinvented her clothing style and music with success every single time. And at the same time remained a real force in entertainment in the whole world." She also cites Whitney Houston as a major influence and idol Mariah Carey has also been cited as one of Rihanna's influence and idol, whose song "Hero" she covered while performing at a school talent show. Of Janet Jackson, Rihanna has commented that "[s]he was one of the first female pop icons that I could relate to ... You have to love Janet." Beyoncé Knowles has been named as a major influence, citing that she was inspired to start her career after watching Knowles on television as part of a Destiny's Child performance. Rihanna commented that Marilyn Monroe and vintage clothing served for visual inspiration for the music video "Hate That I Love You" and "Rehab"; in contrast, the "dark, creepy" scenes of "Disturbia" have drawn comparison to Michael Jackson's Thriller. Her other musical influences include Alicia Keys, Fefe Dobson, Celine Dion, Brandy and Gwen Stefani. Jon Bream of the Star Tribune commented "[i]n the tradition of Madonna and Janet Jackson, Rihanna has become the video vixen of the '00s ... Rihanna has perfected the pout, the long-legged strut and trend-setting hairdos that keep women and men alike checking her out on YouTube." George Epaminondas of InStyle considers Rihanna's music videos to be "cinematic" due to her "blend of lush island rhythms and swinging pop and ... mischievous sensuality."
Rihanna's music contains strong influences of Caribbean music which include reggae and dancehall. In an interview, she stated that while growing up in Barbados she grew up listening to reggae music and when she came to the United States she was exposed to many different types of music. The video for "Rude Boy" was inspired by her Caribbean roots. Rihanna is heavily influenced by the Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley and stated "[h]e's one of my favorite artists of all time [...] he really paved the way for every other artist out of the Caribbean". She also built a shrine in her Los Angeles home dedicated to Marley. Rihanna has covered Marley's "Is This Love" and Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Redemption Song".
Rihanna has often worked with music video director Anthony Mandler on more than a dozen music videos throughout her career, the first being "Unfaithful" (2006). "We've done 16 videos together; they're not all tough, [...] Yeah, I mean, I'm known for the 'Disturbia's and the 'Russian Roulette's and things like that, but 'Only Girl (In the World)' is certainly an ethereal kind of empowering, beauty-filled video," Mandler said. Jocelyn Vena of MTV wrote, "Rihanna, like Madonna, also has a tendency to make truly thought-provoking music videos that fit the songs they represent. Smattered in between glitzier, more glamorous clips, Madge and Ri want us to think about bigger issues". "Unfaithful", "Love The Way You Lie", "Man Down" and "We Found Love" were shot resembling a short film with issues about love triangles, abusive, and substance abuse romance. Her music video for "Umbrella" showed Rihanna's transition into adulthood with her newly adopted image. Tamar Anitai from MTV Buzzworthy listed "Disturbia" at number five on the "Buzzworthy's Top 5 Most Paranoid Music Videos" stating that "Paranoia never looked so supernaturally sexy!". The video for "Russian Roulette", features Rihanna in a padded room playing a game of russian roulette with her partner and scenes of Rihanna being approached by a speeding car at night, which was compared to the altercation with Chris Brown. The Caribbean inspired music video for "Rude Boy" was compared to rapper M.I.A.'s video "Boyz" by many critics for its colorful aesthetics similarities.
In 2011, Rihanna released three music videos that caused major controversy with topics of sadomasochism, rape and domestic violence; the video for "S&M" was banned in eleven countries for its sexual content, "Man Down" was criticized by the Parents Television Council (PTC), which features Rihanna shooting a man in a train station, and "We Found Love" sparked controversy from The Rape Crisis Centre for its inappropriate message, which shows Rihanna and her love interest in a drug-filled unhealthy relationship. Commenting on Rihanna's controversial music videos, Charne Graham of the Houston Press stated, "Why should Rihanna's music videos get everyone riled up when others' equally sexual and controversial videos are in rotation?" and that "she just like to make music videos that give us something to talk about". Rihanna is also the first woman to pass two billion cumulated views on the joint venture music video website VEVO in association with YouTube.
While performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest, Denis Armstrong of Canadian Online Explorer commented on her performance saying "her show was a Disney-esque choreographed fantasy of non-stop hip-swiveling, sassy attitude and personal endearments and a string of funky, sugar-free hits." Her performance of "Disturbia" at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards was ranked tenth best ever on the MTV Video Music Awards, according to poll by Billboard. Her revealing leather costumes during her Good Girl Gone Bad Tour were highly criticized when Malaysia's conservative Islamic party recommended that her concert tour should be banned from performing due to her skimpy outfits during each show. Whilst commenting on her third album's accompanying tour, The Times compared Rihanna's stage wardrobe styling to that of Janet Jackson and "a vision of Ann Summers couture in thigh-high boots and a few scraps of black PVC." In the October 2011 issue of British Vogue, Rihanna claimed that her performance outfits and appearances are all an act; "[t]hat’s not me. That’s a part I play. You know, like it’s a piece of art, with all these toys and textures to play with".
New York magazine described Rihanna's early look as that of a cookie-cutter teen queen while stating that she has the ability to shift looks dramatically and with great ease. Around the time of the release of her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), many critics felt that Rihanna's style, sound and musical material were too similar to those of Beyoncé. Negative reviews appeared, in which her music, music videos, performances and her image were compared to those of Beyoncé, garnering Rihanna much criticism. Some media even claimed that Jay-Z fashioned her to be a replica of Beyoncé. Rihanna went on to state in an interview with Look magazine that "Beyoncé is a great artist and I feel honored to be mentioned in the same sentence, but we're different performers with different styles". Her third studio album Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), served as a precursor of her new image, with her hair chopped into a bob cut which was inspired by Charlize Theron's hair in Æon Flux (2005). Larry Meyler of The Sun stated that "Rihanna going bad is very good" and that she had "[shaken] off any 'teen pop' image."
Rihanna is known for reinventing her style and image with every album, changing her personal appearance with several different hairstyles. She stated that when selecting her personal wardrobe, she takes risks with fashion and that she looks "for the most interesting silhouette or something that's a little off." Country singer Miranda Lambert admires Rihanna's fashion and style commenting, "I don’t necessarily get inspired by the whole no-bra thing, but I love that you never know what she’s going to wear. It always keeps you guessing, which makes her sassy and interesting." Jess Cartner-Morley of The Guardian wrote that "Rihanna's wardrobe is the most talked-about, influential and dissected in pop right now" and that whatever she wears "is immediately reproduced on the high street, because it sells". Her appearance has landed her on Maxim's Hot 100 list and on FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" the last seven years, with her highest position being at number six on Maxim and at number two on FHM. In June 2007, Gillette named her the Venus Breeze's Celebrity Legs of a Goddess. People magazine recognized her as one of the 10 Best Dressed Stars of 2008 and Glamour magazine ranked her at number 17 on the 50 Most Glamorous Women of 2009. In October 2011, Esquire declared Rihanna as the Sexiest Woman Alive for 2011. Commenting on the cultural expectation for pop stars to be role models, she said "[being a role model] became more of my job than I wanted it to be. But no, I just want to make music. That's it". In a May 2013 interview with MTV, The Vagina Monologues writer and feminist Eve Ensler praised the singer saying, "I'm a huge Rihanna fan, I think she has a kind of agency over her sexuality and she's open about her sexuality, she has enormous grace and she's immensely talented." She continued saying, "I think what she's an example of is if you look at the fully realised Rihanna and her full, beautiful sexual self and you see how often we've been told not to be that: to shut it down, to mute it, to pull it back, to hide it, to cover it up, to tone it down, not to be so, you know."
She has a wide collection of small tattoos around her body: a music note on her ankle; pisces sign behind her right ear; Sanskrit prayer on her hip; a star in her left ear; the word "Love" on her left middle finger; an Arabic phrase on her ribcage area, meaning "Freedom in Messiah"; a trail of stars going down the back of her neck; a skull with a pink hair bow on the back of her foot; the phrase "Shhh..." on her right index finger; the date 4.11.1986 in roman numerals on top of her left shoulder; a henna-style dragon claw on her hand; a handgun on her ribcage; the motto "never a failure, always a lesson" near her right shoulder; rebelle fleur on her neck; the words "Thug Life" on her knuckles; a small cross on her collar bone; an Egyptian falcon shaped in a gun on her right foot; and a goddess isis above her stomach.
Rihanna has earned numerous awards and honors throughout her career. She has sold over 150 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Her collaboration with Eminem "Love the Way You Lie" together with "Umbrella", "Disturbia", "Only Girl (In the World)", "We Found Love", and "Diamonds" are some of the best-selling singles of all time worldwide. Rihanna has sold over 8.7 million albums in the United States, while Nielsen SoundScan ranked her as the best-selling digital artist in the country, breaking a Guinness World Record for digital single sales of over 58 million as of 2012. Since the beginning of her career in 2005, Rihanna has accumulated twelve number one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. With this, she ties Madonna and The Supremes for the fourth-most leaders in the 54-year history of the chart and is only the seventh artist to reach this feat. Rihanna has tallied eleven number ones on the US Radio Songs chart; the feat ties her with Mariah Carey for the most chart leaders since its inception in 1990. She has also been named the top Pop Songs chart artist of the past twenty years by Billboard. She ranks first with most appearances (35), most top tens (23) and most number ones (10). Rihanna has also sold over 14 million singles and six million albums in the United Kingdom, as of June 2012. The same month, she was named the tenth best-selling singles artist of all time. There, she is the second best-selling female singles artist, only behind Madonna. She has amassed three singles that have sold over one million copies in the country: "Love the Way You Lie", "Only Girl (In the World)" and "We Found Love".
Rihanna has won seven Grammy Awards including Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella", Best Dance Recording for "Only Girl (In the World)" and Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video for "We Found Love". She is the only female multiple winner of the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year with her wins for "Umbrella" at the 2007 and for "We Found Love" in 2012 award ceremonies. Her albums Loud and Talk That Talk both won the American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Album in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Rihanna also won two consecutive Brit Awards for Best International Female Artist at the 2011 and 2012 accolade ceremonies.
In April 2012, the singer was placed at number twenty on Time magazine's list of the '100 Most Influential People in the World'. The following month, Forbes ranked Rihanna fourth on their Celebrity 100 list, naming her one the world's most powerful celebrities with earnings of $53 million between May 2011 and May 2012. Huffington Post Canada placed her at number one on the "Pop Power Rankings" in November, 2012. Rihanna has also made a huge impact on the social media, placing atop Forbes' list of 'Social Networking Superstars'. She is the most popular person on the social network Facebook, has the fourth most followers on Twitter and is the most-viewed artist on video-sharing site YouTube. Rihanna is also the first artist to have twelve videos pass the 100 million views milestone on YouTube, thus achieving as many VEVO certified awards. This feat makes the singer the artist with the most honors. On March 7, 2013 it was announced that Rihanna is the most streamed artist worldwide according to Spotify. In the same month, she was named the most influential pop star in the UK, following data analysis of social media activity, airplay and press coverage. Rihanna has seven wax figures of herself at Madame Tussauds Wax Museums in Berlin, Hollywood, Las Vegas, London, Sydney, Vienna and Washington D.C..
Rihanna has directly influenced artists such as Justin Bieber, Ellie Goulding, Kesha, Demi Lovato, and Willow Smith. Additionally, British singer Rita Ora said of the singer, "I admire Rihanna. That work ethic and discipline is hardcore." Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, has stated that he believes Rihanna is "the best singer in the world," and praised her, "amazing voice." Mary J Blige supported Rihanna's prominence in the industry, stating, "I am so proud of what Rihanna is doing. She is speaking to her generation." Speaking of their collaboration on "Love the Way You Lie", rapper Eminem applauded Rihanna's contribution and said he felt, "only she could pull it off." Cheryl Cole said she admires the singer and further commented: "I love that sense of freedom about her. She’s gorgeous and free. A perfect pop star." Selena Gomez said of the singer: "I think she’s very strong and classy. I look up to that. She carries herself very well." In 2013, English singer-songwriter Dido also expressed her love and admiration for Rihanna. In April 2013, British-Irish boy band The Wanted announced the release of their single "Walks Like Rihanna", inspired by the singer's attitude.
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Image from Discogs