Rihanna’s Apology to the Muslim Community Earns Mixed Response: ‘I’m Incredibly Disheartened’

Many things can go wrong at a fashion show, from minor wardrobe malfunctions to dangerous falls. But while artist and entrepreneur Rihanna may have been prepared for those occurrences, she likely wasn’t ready for the controversy surrounding a song selection. Here’s what happened, her apology, and the fan response.

Rihanna held her second Savage X Fenty Show in 2020

Rihanna attends the second press day for Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 in Los Angeles, California
Rihanna attends the second press day for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 in Los Angeles, California | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 Presented by Amazon Prime Video

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Rihanna isn’t new to the fashion world. After delving into makeup with her Fenty Beauty company, she founded a fashion house, also under her last name. Savage X Fenty is Rihanna’s lingerie brand, which she launched in 2018. Since then, her fashion shows have been star-studded events.

Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 dropped on Amazon’s Prime Video on October 2, 2020. The event featured performances by popular artists like Rosalía and Roddy Rich. Other celebrities were in attendance as models, including Paris Hilton, Lizzo, and Rihanna’s friend Cara Delevingne.

The use of 1 song brought on backlash

Following the show, some took to social media to praise it. Many publications reported on the inclusivity of Rihanna’s brand, which she has maintained is essential. However, others found this to be ironic, given the use of a song that is controversial.

The track in question, “Doom” by Coucou Chloe, samples a Hadith. Hadiths, according to TRT World, “are a collection of sayings of the Prophet Muhammad,” which “are considered sacred to Muslims.” Those who responded tweeted things like, “my religion is not y’all’s aesthetic,” deeming the song choice “blatant disrespect.”

Rihanna’s full response on social media

The criticism made waves in the days that followed the show. After several publications reported on the matter, Rihanna issued an apology in her Instagram Story, which was shared by the Savage X Fenty Twitter account. Read her message in full below:

I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our savage x fenty show. I would more importantly like to apologize to you for this honest, yet careless mistake. We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and i’m incredibly disheartened by this! I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of the song in our project was completely irresponsible! Moving forward we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding, Rih.

Her apology received praise and criticism

Many were happy with how Rihanna’s swift apology, praising her “accountability.” “Y’all see how easy accountability is,” wrote one Twitter user. “She owned up to f*cking up…made no excuses and fixed the harmful behavior. Simple.”

However, others weren’t as pleased. “not non muslims in this thread accepting an apology that isnt towards them,” wrote another, replying to the Savage X Fenty post. “i dont like that rih just ASSUMED we would forgive her at the end of the statement. but feel free to sponsor aysha harun wearing the long pj set. then maybe i can forgive your Islamophobia.”