WATCH: Rihanna’s New Video Misses The Mark On Chinese Culture


The video is out! And has made good on its promise to be both very pretty and very culturally confused.

We’ve already written about why the “gangsta goth geisha” concept that Rihanna tweeted about back in March is at best misinformed, and at worst quite offensive. According to MTV:

Rihanna’s look is also a standout as she appears in several forms: multi-armed goddess, heartbroken geisha and fierce warrior princess.

Erm, ok. Multi-armed goddess? That would be Hindu imagery – a religion far, far more common in India (as in, only 0.01% of Chinese population practices Hinduism.) Geisha? Now that would be Japan. Warrior princess? Ok, that one we’ll give her. Chinese warrior girls are fierce.
If you ignore the cultural discrepancies, the video is actually pretty great, even if the song leaves something to be desired – RiRi rocks the thigh-high slit, battles Chris Martin in the desert, and lounges in latex – but it’s hard to ignore something that is right there in the song title. And frankly there’s no reason to ignore them. The fashion industry isn’t exactly known for it’s cultural sensitivity, and everyone could certainly stand to put a little more effort into learning when using culturally-entrenched imagery is appropriate and when it’s just plain offensive.

What do you think? Do you wish the writers had worked harder to get their references straight?

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