Why We Need To Stop Trying To Put Rihanna In A Relationship

Maybe it's our idea of what constitutes a happy ending that needs to change

Why We Need To Stop Trying To Put Rihanna In A Relationship

by Vicky Spratt |
Published on

It’s now been two days since Drake and Rihanna didn’t kiss on stage at the VMAsand yet, the Internet just can’t move on.

Ever since Drake showed up at the VMAs to give Rihanna her awardlike some sort of modern pop knight in shining tuxedo and professed his love for her in front of the world rumours and speculation as to whether or not they are dating have run wild.

Are they officially a couple now? What did she say to him when he leaned in? How long have they been a couple? Was One Dance really about Rihanna? Is this love in its purest, most perfect and distilled form here with the sole purpose of restoring our collective faith in romance and happy endings?

There’s even a spoof website, cunningly named drakeandrihanna.com, which implies that a huge announcement will be revealed if you click on it and enter. It is, in fact, a very long video of somebody dressed in a fur coat looking into the camera as Rihanna’s hit Work plays in the background. The figure in the video then says ‘Shut the f**k up...I’m sick of this sh*t’.

I’d like to echo their sentiments. First of all, and I’m prepared to be proved wrong here, it is my honest opinion that Drake and Rihanna are clearly not a real couple. Why? It’s all too chocolate box charming and not quite awkward enough to be legit. Secondly, it’s all far too convenient. Drake sings with Rihanna, he's in her videos. It smacks of the sort of celebrity-pr-strategy high jinx that, frankly, we thought Rihanna was above.

There is, also, something more sinister about our desire to write Rihanna’s happy ending for her. Why are we so desperate for her to find love? Why would it be so fulfilling for us if it turned out that she was with Drake (albeit on and off) all along? Because #lovewins, right? Love conquers all?

What if Drake isn’t Rihanna’s boyfriend? What if they aren’t in love? What if they’re just mates? What if Rihanna is quite happy being single? What if she’d rather spend weeks on a yacht with her best mates when she goes on holiday than snuggle up with a partner for photo ops?

Is it possible that Rihanna – a high profile, confident, powerful and successful woman who also happens to be a sexually charged performer – threatens people? Is it possible that she challenges norms, conventions and traditional narratives about what success is supposed to look like?

As she said of relationships in an interview with filmmaker and author Miranda July last year, ‘guys need attention’. She went on to explain ‘they need that nourishment, that little stroke of the ego that gets them by every now and then. I’ll give it to my family, I’ll give it to my work – but I will not give it to a man right now.’

July replied that it took her a while to find someone who wasn’t threatened by her power. Rihanna said ‘I’m still in that time.’

This was the same interview in which Rihanna said ‘men are gonna do what they do – and I am gonna do what I do.’

For all we know Rihanna is cool, she’s all good with her own status quo. She didn’t kiss Drake on stage at the weekend because she was there in a professional capacity and he was trying his luck. Or, perhaps, it was a PR stunt that she was refusing to participate in.

We love to tie our lives off neatly. To write Disney movie 2.4 endings for ourselves. Hard times, anguish and misery must always conclude with a euphoric ending. It all comes good in the end. Conventional happy endings, for whatever reason, tend to involve a heteronormative couple coming together and falling in love or reuniting. Finding love, we are told. Love, as an invisible, global and universal force, is a fixer. A plaster which can be applied to any problem regardless of its scale or scope.

Regardless of whether Rihanna is in love or not, regardless of whether she has a man in her life or not, she is Rihanna. That’s more than enough. She is not a half waiting for someone to complete her and make her whole.

What if a happy ending looked like a young, single woman, standing on stage alone and collecting an award for her artistic achievements in front of the world?

Like this? You might also be interested In:

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Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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