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Fresh off a Super Bowl LVII halftime performance that commanded nearly 120 million live television viewers, Rihanna is on the cover of British Vogue‘s March issue with her partner A$AP Rocky as they publicly debut their 9-month-old son.
In an interview with Giles Hattersley, the nine-time Grammy Award winner — and Golden Globe and Oscar nominee in the best original song category for “Lift Me Up,” the lead single from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack — spoke at length for the first time about motherhood, how her political stance toward the NFL has shifted, and the fears behind her absence from music as fans await the release of what will be her ninth studio album, following 2016’s Anti.
The 34-year-old Barbadian musician and entrepreneur made headlines Sunday for her halftime performance (where she wore a monochromatic red Loewe and Alaïa look floating above State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona) and the impressive range of her discography it covered, but also because she revealed she is currently pregnant with her second child.
“Oh, my God, it’s legendary. It’s everything. You really don’t remember life before, that’s the craziest thing ever,” Rihanna told British Vogue about motherhood, describing the birth of her son (whose name is yet to be revealed) as “beautiful.”
The singer unpacked her and Rocky’s fierce protection of their son from the paparazzi — “You don’t have any consent to be posting photos or selling photos of my child, a minor,” she said — and described her relationship with the rapper as “best friends with a baby.” The noted fashion icon also revealed she often gets her son’s clothes custom-made (he wore a Chrome Hearts diaper cover for the cover of the March issue), being unimpressed with most kids’ clothes off the rack.
“I like to dress him in things that don’t look like baby clothes. I like to push it. I put him in floral stuff. I put him in hot pink. I love that. I think that fluidity in fashion is best. I always shop in the men’s department, you know,” she shared.
The confidence Rihanna has gained from motherhood is ultimately what pushed her to agree to perform at the Super Bowl “in the middle of postpartum,” she said, despite the fact that she hadn’t been onstage in seven years.
Ahead of the performance, she told Hattersley: “I want to put on a show. I want to have fun. I haven’t done this in a minute and I’m doing this for the people that love my music, the people that have supported me and gotten me to this place in my career. And who miss me as a musician in particular. It’s me really just getting back onstage — a crazy stage to be back on — but I’m really doing this for my fans.”
In the past, the NFL had approached Rihanna to perform, but she routinely declined; in 2018, she specifically turned down the organization’s invitation in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who’d first taken a knee two years prior as a symbolic stance against American racial injustice and police brutality, telling U.S. Vogue at the time: “I just couldn’t be a sellout. … There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
“But for this Super Bowl I was approached a few weeks before [the announcement] and I kind of kept putting off my answer,” Rihanna told British Vogue, adding, “There’s still a lot of mending to be done in my eyes, but it’s powerful to break those doors, and have representation at such a high, high level and a consistent level.” The singer was adamant about no wardrobe changes during her 12-minute set, but fleshed out the atmosphere with an army of dancers dressed in white.
Rihanna’s Fenty beauty and skin care brands, in which she owns a 50 percent stake, are valued at an estimated $2.8 billion — and Savage, her underwear line, is reportedly expanding. The interview for British Vogue was conducted from the building where she lives in Century City — a tower Candy Spelling, chef Nobu Matsuhisa and former Friends star Matthew Perry also reportedly have called home.
It’s been seven years since Rihanna released Anti, which the singer says, in hindsight, is her “most brilliant album.”
“I say that because in the moment, I didn’t realise it. But it always felt like the most cohesive album I’ve ever made.” Now, she says, she’s finally ready to release her next project this year. “But there’s this pressure that I put on myself. That if it’s not better than that then it is not even worth it … but I just want to have fun. I just want to make music and make videos.”
The singer’s pregnancy style — made up of outfits that often centered her bare belly — was widely photographed and duplicated the first time around, and likely will be again.
After all, according to Rihanna, “dressing for pregnancy was such a piece of cake.”
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