Beyoncé & Rihanna: two black women at the top of the music game. Both artists have been in headlines recently regarding new music and upcoming tours. Beyoncé caused a stir a few weeks ago with her controversial performance at Super Bowl 50, which pretty much added a little more history to Black History Month. Everything the woman does is epic. Rihanna definitely holds her own as well and is one hell of a hit maker, recently breaking Michael Jackson’s (yes THE Michael Jackson) record for most number one hits while unleashing another smash with a ridiculously infectious beat, “Work”. Slaying all up and through the music video for “Work” she dropped this past Monday, February 22, 2016 – looking absolutely scrumptious and twerking for her life. These two fabulous women certainly keep a buzz on social media. Their fan bases, the #BeyHive and #RihannaNavy, often go to war in the comment sections of your favorite gossip blog’s social media accounts. Whenever Rihanna is exalted, Beyoncé is denounced, and vice versa. However, to compare these two women is like comparing apples and oranges.
From being discovered by Jay-Z in the 2000s, Rihanna has transformed throughout her career and has ascended above most to become a mega star in the music game. When I say the woman can drop a hit, the woman can DROP A HIT. Her voice is unique, which makes her stand out. She comes off as the relatable girl from around the way who is cool as hell; kind of like the girl who befriends you in the bathroom at the club on Saturday night. She gets lit, twerks like a true Bajan goddess, and sets trends. Rihanna is an absolute fashion icon; she can wear anything and make it look hot. For these reasons and many more, her fan base is die-hard loyal. Millennials rock with Rih-Rih. She is also a businesswoman and brand ambassador and she has even taken a stab at acting in a movie or two. With all that being said, the very thing that makes her so popular amongst millennials is what could hinder her growth as a legendary artist: her turn up could turn down her vocal ability and work ethic. Not to say she can’t slay a hit song or stay booked, but it takes a lot to be at the very top of the game. She has an AMAZING team behind her and that is what has boosted her to where she is today – and she owns it.
Beyoncé was pretty much born a star. From talent competitions to girl group rehearsals, her parents pushed her from a very young age to hone her talents, which is the basis for her hard-core work ethic. Her level of perfectionism is obvious in everything she does. From her public persona, to her marriage, I’m pretty sure she has it all mapped out. She can come off as “programmed” to some, but she was simply groomed to be a star. In this age of social media, everyone feels entitled to know every detail of a superstar’s life and when access is denied, the bashing begins. It’s all a waste of thumb-thugging because Beyoncé never responds to rumors and backlash online. While many celebrities will “pop off” with Twitter fingers, Beyoncé simply dedicates a line or two in a new song to address the slander. Everything we know about Beyoncé is what she wants us to know; reminiscent of the pre-social-media-era where celebrities’ personal lives were vehemently kept under wraps. Classic Superstar 101. Whether or not people want to admit it, Beyoncé is the closest thing to Michael Jackson this era will know. Her vocal range is bananas and she owns the hell out of a stage – a true performer. Who else can sing flawlessly while dancing across a stage in heels in this day and age? She seems to be taking more risks this time around to create music that stirs up conversation. Beyoncé’s similarities to the King of Pop are in development but many choose to relegate her talents to be more in line with those of Rihanna instead.
Rihanna has amassed a team that knows how to win, and that is apparent. No one can take away her accomplishments and accolades – she has earned those fair & square. However, to pit her against an artist who was groomed in Jackson 5 fashion to be a superstar with ironclad work ethics and dedication to perfection is simply unfair. Rihanna has not only surpassed Beyoncé & Michael Jackson in producing hits; she has obviously surpassed Janet Jackson & Whitney Houston – both legends in the music game. Does this mean Rihanna is better than all of these artists as well? Why pit her against Beyoncé?
Rihanna will never be Beyoncé because she will be too busy being Rihanna – beautiful, iconic, trend-setting, hit-making Rihanna. It’s certainly not crowded at the top so we should just let them both be great.