Queer Icon – Rihanna, Queen of Cool

Queer Icon - Rihanna, Queen of CoolRihanna epitomizes the queer cool icon.

No matter what Rihanna is doing, or where she is appearing, she owns what is occurring.  Rihanna has an agency over and openness about her sexuality, she has enormous grace and she’s immensely talented.  Her own transformation and artistic control mirrors the metamorphosis of gay identity.  Similar to how she felt controlled by the blueprint of Def Jam’s pop-princess homosexual and queer youth prescribe to labels and group mentality, dividing amongst terminology, titles, and descriptors.  Applying to the homosexual and queer labels takes the idea of who one should be without the process of figuring out the subtleties of identity.  As the queer identity enters the bigger world, either through college or independent living, a darker edge manifests itself, which can take the form of hard partying and sex to radical politicism.  Regardless of the form that it takes, at this juncture the identity takes the antithesis of who they previously exhibited themselves to be.  Rihanna reached this juncture in her own career when she released Good Girl Gone Bad, which was followed by Rated R where she, like queer identity, began separating from the molds and terminology that had been used in the construction of their identity.  What followed for both Rihanna and queer identity was the investigating of other labels, while still safely staying within expectations.  For Rihanna this changed with the release of Anti, when she had accumulated enough hit-maker cache to have control over how she presented her identity.  Queer identity development has a similar moment, when life experiences add up to acceptance on the level that one is accepted for the labels they self-apply, and the ones they do not.


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