It's been nearly four years since Rihanna released her excellent last album Anti, but the 31-year-old singer has been busy. It's a full-time job just being Rihanna, and while fans are clamoring for new music, she's clearly busy doing things like running Fenty Beauty and being the wealthiest woman musician in the world. She's not really in a rush to put out another full-length. That's OK!
But for The Navy—Rihanna's most diehard fans—the fact that there is no upcoming album confirmed or even a single to speak of is an incredible affront. As a recent Vogue interview with the "Work" singer notes, her biggest supporters have grown impatient with the lack of new tunes. They'll often comment rude things on her Fenty social media posts like "Ok now can you please go back to singing," which will sometimes elicit snarky responses from Rihanna herself. She tells Vogue, "I know I have some very unhappy fans who don’t understand the inside bits of how [making an album] works.” The Navy's love for the singer is obvious, but like any hyper-online and mobilized community, the way they show their affection can get a little intense.
Just take this interaction in the interview between Rihanna and writer Abby Aguirre:
When I ask about a release date, Rihanna’s face morphs into a grimace, equal parts amusement and terror. “No, oh my God, they’re gonna kill you for that!” she exclaims. “And they’re going to kill me more!” It is so strange to see @badgalriri exhibit any sort of emotion categorizable as fear that for a moment I have no clue who she’s talking about. Wait—Vogue? Your record company? The international reggae police? “I’m talking the Navy—my scary fans,” Rihanna clarifies. “But they’ve earned it,” she is quick to add. “They got me here.”
This is exactly what someone stuck in a hostage situation would say. There's the initial shock from Rihanna in stating, "Oh my God, they’re gonna kill you for that!" and then the fear leading her to add the "But they've earned it" qualifier. And fandoms can engage in some pretty disturbing and threatening behavior online. Just look at how Nicki Minaj's Barbz sent death threats to a journalist, or how a Postmates delivery driver feared for her life after Lizzo tweeted her dissatisfaction about her order with a screenshot of the woman's face.
Rihanna has every right to be a little nervous. Hopefully she stays busy, but also finds time to appease the Navy and everyone else begging for new music in the meantime. Read the whole profile here.