Published Nov 22, 2019With fewer than 14 years in the game, and enough chart clout to hang with the legacy artists she looked up to before entering it, Robyn Fenty's rise to prominence as Rihanna is unequalled by any of her generation, and it would be difficult to locate someone from previous times to measure up.
An established pop star that has since infiltrated the worlds of fashion, cosmetics, film and television, pursuing a number of philanthropic undertakings along the way, the single quality that pervades Rihanna's many projects is her tireless capacity for labour.
With the followup to 2016's ANTI promised sometime this calendar year and time running out fast, we traced it all back to square one in an extensive Timeline feature. Here's a preview of five noteworthy facts you may not know about Rihanna.
1. She slapped Trump with a cease-and-desist.
In November 2018, Washington Post White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker tweets that Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" is blaring at a Trump rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to which Rihanna replies "Not for much longer… me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up Philip!" and promptly files a cease-and-desist letter against the president through her legal team. It reads, "Trump's unauthorized use of Ms. Fenty's music… creates a false impression that Ms. Fenty is affiliated with, connected to or otherwise associated with Trump."
2. She turned down headlining the 2019 Super Bowl in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
Us Weekly reported that Rihanna rejected an offer to headline the Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show in 2019 because she "supports Colin Kaepernick." Later gracing the cover of Vogue's November 2019 issue, Rihanna confirms this was the case. "I couldn't dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn't be a sellout. I couldn't be an enabler. There are things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way."
3. "Umbrella" was almost a Britney Spears song. Then it was almost a Mary J. Blige song.
After it's decided it won't go to Britney Spears, [songwriter] Tricky Stewart starts shopping his track "Umbrella" around, prompting representatives for Rihanna and Mary J. Blige to enter a bidding war over the song. Stewart ultimately lets Rihanna have it after she personally approaches one of the writers. Opening with a JAY-Z feature, it's released on March 29, 2007, and is a commercial success, topping the charts in more than 40 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the UK, the song's chart performance coincides with a prolonged stretch of rain and flooding, a fact the local press have some fun with, deeming it some kind of curse. It's one of the most played songs on the radio in the decade, and manages to stay at #1 on the UK Singles Chart for ten consecutive weeks, the longest run at #1 for any single of the decade and also one of the few songs to top the chart for at least ten weeks. It's one of the highest digital debuts in the United States and remains at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks.
4. When she sings "Bitch Better Have My Money" she means it.
[In July 2012] it is reported that Rihanna has fired her accountants Michael Mitnick and Peter Gounis, and that the singer is suing them, as well as the firm Berdon LLP, where they no longer work. In the suit, Rihanna's lawyers write that "Between 2005 and 2010," Rihanna's touring company "suffered significant losses due to [the] defendants' financial mismanagement and other acts and omissions." They also allege that between 2007 and 2010 Rihanna was paid just 6 percent of the total receipts from her "Last Girl on Earth" tour, while Berdon paid itself 23 percent of the total revenues, and that the firm's incompetence resulted in Rihanna's 2009 world tour losing money. Meanwhile, the IRS is auditing the pop star following years of erroneous and often overdue tax submissions.
After years of court procedures, in February 2014, Rihanna wins a multi-million dollar settlement in the suit against her former accountant Peter Gounis and the firm Berdon LLP. According to the New York Post, it is understood that the firm settled for approximately $10 million.
5. She also sued her dad.
Having established a practice of using her surname exclusively for business endeavours not related to her music career, Rihanna kicks off 2019 filing a lawsuit against her father over the use of the Fenty name for commercial purposes, alleging Fenty Beauty was damaged commercially by her father's company Fenty Entertainment, misrepresenting his company as affiliated with hers.