She already told us she was a savage, but never lets us forget she’s a star. After blessing fans, followers and waitlists everywhere with the release of Fenty Skin last week, Rihanna’s got her Fenty Maison heel on our necks once again, as the cover girl for the always anticipated September issue of Harper’s Bazaar—on every single international edition, as noted by Fashionista.
On at least one of the two covers shot by Gray Sorrenti, the musician, muse and mogul’s face seems to be made up with only her new skincare line and Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint (in Uncensored). On the other, she reminds us of her now-legendary 2015 Met Gala look, once again sporting a canary-colored fur-trimmed coat with extra drama at the hem.
Profiled by influencer, journalist and 2020 Glow Up 50 honoree Kahlana Barfield Brown, we are once again reminded that the bad girl is a Black girl first, foremost, and always, as Barfield Brown writes of their first meeting, over a decade ago:
Underneath the veil of this superhero-ish, ultramagnetic, über-swaggy star, Robyn Rihanna Fenty was a real one—not fake real, but real real: a Black girl who wasn’t so caught up in her own celebrity that she couldn’t recognize another Black girl on the come up...Rihanna gave off the type of down-to-earth vibe you’d expect from a homegirl you’ve known since middle school.
Despite her fame, Rihanna has somehow always managed to stay down—for the cause, for her people. It has always felt like she is one of us.
Barfield Brown notes that while the megastar may be best known for her stratospherically successful music, beauty and fashion ventures, Rihanna also deserves to take a bow for her philanthropy. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, her 8-year-old nonprofit the Clara Lionel Foundation has, along with its partners, “committed more than $36 million to emergency response efforts,” reports Bazaar.
It’s the type of generosity that has also come to characterize Rihanna the entrepreneur, whose primary aesthetic is indisputably luxurious, but also largely democratic in its approach, as first seen with the 40-shade launch of Fenty Beauty. “Beyond providing people in communities of color starved for accessible foundation that actually matched their complexions, the move seemed to communicate, I see you when no one else does,” writes Barfield Brown. Coincidentally, the article’s accompanying photographs appear to give us a somewhat voyeuristic lens into the interior life of the Fenty creator.
In fact, Rihanna says she had to “live with” Fenty Skin before presenting it to eager beauty lovers, explaining:
I’ve always seen the Fenty brand as more than just makeup, and I knew I wanted to make skin care from the very beginning...It was just about getting it right. You have to live with the formulas for awhile and test them in different ways. It’s very different from makeup in that sense. It takes a long time.
What’s next? If Rihanna’s fans have their way, it’ll be that ninth studio album. All we know for sure is she’ll likely never cease to amaze us.
The September 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar also features Janelle Monáe, Ava DuVernay and Stacey Abrams, and will be available on newsstands September 8.
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