We are all taught very young that heroes can come in many different forms and don’t need to be equipped with superpowers, but singer Rihanna sees heroism in the most unlikely person.
During a cover interview for Vanity Fair — out next month — the pop star defended...wait for it... Rachel Dolezal, the white civil rights activist who pretended to be black and after she was ousted claimed to identify as “transracial.” (Yea, I didn’t know that was a real thing either)
When Dolezal’s parents revealed her true racial identity she became the butt of every joke, the poster child for cultural appropriation and she was shamed relentlessly on social media.
While the bulk of Rihanna’s interview was about her own personal life, she spoke some very controversial yet profound words about Dolezal.
“I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit,” Rihanna told the magazine. “Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”
Rihanna has never been one to bite her tongue, but perhaps this time she really should have.
LMFAOOOOO!!!!! THE DAY HAS ARRIVED! YALL FINALLY REALIZE YALL HERO @RIHANNA IS AN IDIOT. Rachel Dolezal is NOBODY'S hero.— The Unorthodox Duck (@GeauxGabby) October 6, 2015
While she does have a point that Dolezal’s situation brought up a new perspective on racial identity and what that really means and we can agree that Dolezal “woke people up,” (if by that she means confused and shocked the heck out of people) but “hero” is a really strong word.
In a world full of Justin Biebers and Iggy Azaleas who are constantly criticized for "trying to be black" for increased popularity but not publicly standing with the black community on serious issues that affect them, you can argue that at least Dolezal was an active member in the community and used cultural appropriation for a noble cause, as reflected in her work with the NAACP.
But the fact remains that this woman LIED…not only to friends, students and colleagues but to a national organization! The real kicker is that the NAACP is open to White people, in fact; it was founded by mostly White people! (It’s true, look it up).
With that said, Dolezal didn’t need to lie about her own race to be accepted or to be an ally to the black community and fight for civil rights.
Not only were her actions unnecessary but they compromised her integrity. What’s so heroic about living a lie?
We aren’t the only ones questioning Rihanna’s logic. As usual, the Twittersphere has chimed in expressing everything from anger and disbelief to humor.
Why in the hell did anyone ask Rihanna about Rachel Dolezal in the first damn place?— PracticeSquadTrophy (@inomallday) October 6, 2015
We all know RiRi’s got thick skin and has already faced some of the harshest criticisms related to many of her personal choices, but it may be a while before she lives this one down.
Rihanna calling Rachel Dolezal a hero is obviously a typo… help. pic.twitter.com/H0nCKd2qvT— Johnny Boy ? (@JohnTheFame) October 6, 2015
i'ma give rihanna the benefit of the doubt and say she was high off weed when she said rachel dolezal is a hero...... so yeah— Ahmed/TRAPSOUL GOAT (@big_business_) October 6, 2015
not even rihanna can make me want to talk about rachel dolezal again— Adam Serwer (@AdamSerwer) October 6, 2015
"I like Rachel Dolezal." said Rihanna as her Navy sailed away into the deep horizon.— [jo.] (@johnnyShady_) October 6, 2015
My love for Rihanna is on the same level as my love for pizza… but … Rachel Dolezal ain't nobodies hero ?? https://t.co/3EEBdswGqd— Johnny Boy ? (@JohnTheFame) October 6, 2015