By Jayy Dodd
For your own sake I hope you’ve seen Rihanna’s short film for her song “B—- Betta Have My Money”, if you haven’t watch it here (warning: make sure yo Momma ain’t over your shoulder).
Now that you have died and been resurrected it is important to know the critical work that Rihanna is doing here. From demanding particular economies as a Black woman to her disavowal of White man’s property, Rihanna is providing needed language for carefree and resistive Black girls.
She is a in a long lineage of Black girls out there for themselves, their bodies, their money and their time. Here’s a round-up of some important things to know, learn, and re-watch when locating Rihanna’s work!
“RiRi crafts notably rebellious black female self-determination in this spirit, eschewing propriety in favor of a carefree, self-indulgent womanhood not contingent on respectability.” – Rihanna And The Radical Power Of “Carefree Black Girl” Celebrity by Hannah Giorgis.
“Just as Rihanna’s eponymous girlness-as-image brushes against but never touches affective white girlishness, she functions just outside of the womanish labor so often determining blackness. Her girlness shapes her relationship to cash.” – The Prosperity Gospel of Rihanna by Doreen St. Felix
“She is making the claim that, in some sense, she is selling her body like the strippers and dancers in her video. And she doesn’t have a problem with that. Far from it, she embraces it.” – Talkback: In Defense of Rihanna by Muna Mire
“The mere fact that the woman who directed this entire video is Rihanna herself is laudable — an action that could even be interpreted as a subversion of these typically male-run narratives that Tarantino & Co. tend to go hog-wild with sans repercussion.” – Stop Saying Rihanna “Bitch Better Have My Money” Video Is Anti-Feminist by Sandra Song
The fact is, Rihanna doesn’t get dubbed as a feminist icon for the very same reasons her white peers do: the black female body is deemed as overtly sexual. – Why We Can’t Have Black Feminist Pop Icons by Lesli-Ann Lewis.
Janet & Carly Simon featuring Missy Elliott – Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You):
Lil’ Kim – Came Back For You (Explicit)
Jhené Aiko – The Worst
What’s missing from the #BBHMMSyllabus? Use the hashtag to see more!
Jayy Dodd is a writer and performance artist based in Boston, originally from Los Angeles. After recently graduating Tufts University, Jay has organized vigils and protests locally for Black Lives Matter: Boston. When not in the streets, Jay has contributed to Huffington Post and is currently a contributing writer for VSNotebook.com, based in London. Jay Dodd is active on social media celebrating Blackness, interrogating masculinity, and complicating queerness. His poetic and performance work speaks to queer Black masculinity and afrofuturism.