This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.
I rewrote the intro to this four times and each time was more shit than the time before because let's face it: How do you sum up Rihanna? To even try is to sound like the deranged ramblings of a madwoman scribbling on walls in Sharpie, wearing a tinfoil hat, stinking of cat piss, and gesturing at each completed statement like an enthusiastic university lecturer.
Rihanna is a star of pop in the way many popstars of today are very much not. She looks right, acts right, and sounds right, and "right" in the context of this sentence means: "Better than, more interesting than and 100 percent more cool than everyone else including your fave." That doesn't cover it, but it's the best I can do. Rihanna is worth a thousand words and none of them are good enough.
So without further delay, here’s a bunch of ridiculous and amazing Rihanna moments you may have forgotten, now etched into the fabric of time.
THE TIME SHE WALLOPED MICHAEL CERA
Admit it now. At some point, you have wanted to smack Micheal Cera just a little bit. Just a teeny tiny little bit? Just to give him something that he couldn't, for once, respond to by making you a mixtape. Do you want to smack the palm of your hand right across his face and feel the resounding sting vibrate right up to your elbow? If, yes, you have felt like this before, then you can live vicariously through Rihanna's cameo in apocalypse comedy movie This Is the End. Cera was permitted to smack Rih's ass for real on the proviso she could wallop him back as hard as she liked, and look at the swing on that left canon! He felt that. YOU felt that. The tea on your desk ripples everytime you play this.
THE TIME SHE WAS BEST FRIENDS WITH KATY PERRY
Katy Perry was Rihanna's unlikely rock in the immediate aftermath of THAT incident with Chris Brown, and 6 years down the line they're still buddies. Even when Katy found a gun in Rihanna's purse at the VMAs she stayed cool and didn't rat her out. That's what friendship is about. Friendship is finding a loaded firearm in your pal's bag and just rolling your eyes and going "Whoopsie!" Their Thelma and Louise unity exposes certain "squad goals" for the hollow publicity transactions they really are.
THE TIME SHE POPULARISED THE “PUSSY PAT”
Civilisation will crumble and fall, the polar ice caps will melt, and aliens will invade the planet - but through all of this, Rihanna's iconic pussy pat will endure. It is innovative. It is timeless. It is the only time you will see a woman smacking her own vagine to the thunderous appreciation of a large crowd outside of Pornhub.
THE TIME SHE COVERED MARIAH CAREY
Legend has it that Rihanna swam from Barbados to New York on the first day, met Jay Z on the second day, signed to Island Def Jam on the third day, and the rest is gospel. There's probably more to it than that, but one thing is for certain - Rihanna was not offered a record deal off the back of this wobbly performance of Mariah Carey's “Hero”, staged at what seems to be prom night in Twin Peaks. Just look at that demure outfit and softly layered hair cut. There is a lesson here: we aren't born stars, we become stars.
THE TIME SHE KNOCKED A FAN OUT WITH A MIC
A lesser star would have just accepted this unworthy clawing at their arm for longer than necessary. But she is BadGalRiRi, and if you grab her person and don't let go, don't be surprised if she punches you in the face with her microphone. Michael Cera got some, and now you did too. Rihanna's right fist is what a trembling Manny Pacquiao visualises when he's home alone and hears noises at night.
THE TIME SHE TOOK A BUNCH OF JOURNOS HOSTAGE AND THEY LOST THEIR MINDS
In a label boardroom somewhere, Rihanna's '777 Tour' probably seemed like a genius PR and #engagement idea. Rihanna, a bunch of fans, 150 journalists, one 777 jet, 7 shows in 7 cities - what could possibly go wrong? But IRL, what on paper was an incredible once in a lifetime experience turned into Lord Of The Flies crossed with Big Brother series 6, culminating in an Australian DJ, driven stir crazy by the bizarre hostage situation, stripping naked and streaking down the aisle of Rihannaplane.
ALL THE TIMES SHE CLAPPED BACK
Rih's golden era on Twitter ran between 2010-2012, a reign of terror in which she couldn't help but #clapback at fans, haters, the media and Ciara alike. From the girl who wished her "merry xmas tampon head" and received a "same 2 u cunt" reply, to the time she told Piers Morgan to "grow a dick... FAST!!!", to the still often quoted "your pussy is way too dry to be riding my dick like this" in response to a Celebuzz article that suggested her outfits were too revealing. Rihanna's rihplies made #piggate look like a drip in the trough. By the time she started #phuck-ing everything the novelty had worn off a little, but the fact remains that when it comes to social media, she is even more unfiltered than her Instagram photos.
THE TIME SHE LAUGHED AT ARIANA GRANDE'S DANCING
It is a long established fact that Rihanna is the best thing about any awards show. Especially when she doesn't even perform. 'Audience cam' was invented to catch moments like Rihanna and Katy Perry high as fuck, slagging off every other popstar in the room, or to be trained solely on Rihanna doing nothing to disguise the fact that she would rather be anywhere on earth than seated in front of One Direction pretending to care about an NSYNC reunion. Without audience cam we would never have clocked Rihanna's sniggering at Ariana Grande's stiff-limbed, awkward choreography to "Problem" at the 2014 iHeartMusic Awards.
THE TIME SHE SUPPORTED GERMANY IN THE WORLD CUP
She likes football and footballers, who knew? Not us, until the 2014 World Cup when she came out as a massive Germany supporter, tweeting through all the matches, and flashing the crowd when they took the win in the final against Argentina. What was surprising was Rihanna's knowledge of both players and the game, and that's not because I'm being a sexist twat, but because before that World Cup, she'd never ever given a hint that she even knew what a football was.
THE TIME SHE SHOWED UP TO COLLECT A FASHION AWARD PRACTICALLY NAKED
What do you wear to collect a trophy for being an exceptionally stylish and fashionable woman? Fuck all. Why traverse the corners of the world for fabrics worthy enough to grace your bod when you can just wear a swimming cap made of Swarovski crystals, drape a few extra over your tits, and be done with it.
THE TIME SHE WASN'T LOOKING FOR A MAN
Feminism is the lifestyle choice du jour for every female popstar under 30, but how many of these self-proclaimed advocates of women's rights are actually LIVING their feminism instead of just fronting it in interviews? Don't @ me, because I don't want to hear your thoughts on the "Bitch Better Have My Money" video, but there is barely an exchange in existence where Rihanna's unthirsty, unbothered self isn't verbally scraping an interviewer off the bottom of her shoe.
THE TIME SHE WAS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FEMALE ARTIST OF THIS GENERATION
Pussy patting, crystal covered tits and that elusive R8 album are cultural ticks, but the stone cold facts are that Rihanna is one of the most successful artists of her generation, responsible for 10 of the biggest selling singles of all time. She has sold and streamed more singles than her closest rivals by a good 10 million. She is the youngest artist to achieve a record 13 Billboard #1s, and also the fastest artist to attain that number of hits. Suck on that, world.
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