Destination Jam: Top 5 Rihanna songs that remind you of your worth in the face of criticism and abuse
The singer recently made it very obvious that she was on Megan Thee Stallion's side, but her stance was no surprise to fans who heard the singer address her own traumatic experiences through her music
It's been a minute since we've had a new album from Rihanna, and while that might be cause for many to continuously spam her social media asking when she's going to be dropping her next musical project, for others, it simply means having her discography on repeat as we patiently await the Barbadian singer's return.
Rihanna's music has many flavors to it, from her early dance-pop days to her later more R&B-inclined work, to her even later genre-blending style that saw her slowly reconnect with her cultural and ethnic roots on more reggae-infused songs. But one thing that was abundantly clear with Rihanna was never shy when it came to putting women first in her lyrics. And given her recent choice to support fellow artiste, Megan Thee Stallion, as she heals from a traumatizing experience, it's evident she holds the same values in her personal life as well. But more specifically, Rihanna's music dealt with pain, struggle, loss and complicated relationships, often leaving listeners with the message that it's okay to put yourself first sometimes.
So without further ado, here are five songs from Rihanna that include empowering statements for listeners everywhere.
It's pretty obvious who Rihanna is addressing here, but it's the underlying message of this song that really stands out. The singer is letting her listeners know that their "haters" only seek to drag them down and they should simply ignore them and keep "hustlin''. But beyond telling the haters the have no power, this song's underlying message is one we can all keep in mind in our daily lives: "Then they turn against you when your not around / Its just jealousy and dishonesty / So hold on to your sanity / Get dem haters out your circle." Rihanna essentially reminds us all that we are worth a whole lot more and we should never let the haters take away our confidence and peace of mind.
'Good Girl Gone Bad'
The title track of Rihanna's album of the same name, this one has the singer demanding the respect she knows she deserves. This era represented a massive shift for Rihanna. Sonically, she drew inspiration from Brandy's 2004 album, 'Afrodisiac' and shed her more Caribbean-sounding style for an '80s dance-pop and R&B one. Visually, she let go of her more youthful look and opted for an edgier, more mature one. And lyrically, she was connecting with her audience on a much deeper level. 'Good Girl Gone Bad' was a declaration that Rihanna was a person in her own right, a gifted singer, songwriter, and dancer and someone who was not going to let anyone disrespect her.
'Cold Case Love'
One of the first things fans pointed out when Rihanna showed support for Stallion was that the singer herself was a victim of abuse and violence. Knowing what that traumatic experience is like is definitely a big part of why Rihanna reps her fellow women as hard as she does. The singer has elected to not speak too often about her experiences but she has referenced them via her music, and 'Cold Case Love' was one such track.
The song was penned by The Y's, comprised of Justin Timberlake, Robin Tadross and James Fauntleroy II, and featured on Rihanna's 2009 album 'Rated R' which she began working on not long after she was assaulted by Chris Brown. She didn't immediately confirm the song's background at the time, but the following year, she admitted the song's lyrics were about her complicated relationship with Brown. Lyrically, the song details a painful yet necessary goodbye to a failed and toxic relationship. The song's takeaway message, essentially, is about being bold enough to walk away from that which no longer serves you.
Artistes like Rihanna and Stallion know all too well that the industry, as well as the public, can often downplay a woman's trauma on account of sexuality. But they are also extremely confident women who own their own sexuality even in the face of criticism and opposition. Rihanna's 'S&M', which is built around the idea of women taking charge and owning their sexuality while also referencing BDSM, dropped to mixed reviews: many commended its musical style but heavily criticized its overtly sexual tones. Rihanna stood firm against the criticism, responding by releasing a remixed version featuring Britney Spears. Talk about a power combo!
'Winning Women' (with Nicole Scherzinger)
The name of this track really says it all. And the fact that Rihanna worked with Scherzinger, another successful female soloist and a woman of color herself, really amps this track up to another level. Both women get their time to shine on this song that combines their styles and vocals effortlessly as they sing about being strong, confident women who use criticism as fuel to climb even higher. And it's an absolute banger to boot.
Destination Jam is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained and grooving up top in lieu of feeling drained and losing the plot. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!