Written by: Weléla Kindred
When we create something, from nothing - when we put everything we have into something, it’s almost like preparing for a wedding. This coffee table book by Rihanna has never been done by a Black woman, a black body documented in photos, draped in sand, or rhinestones, leather, sweat, red lips and polish. Some photos are natural, others simply layered with tattoo ink and lace.
Reference of muses is a way to keep tabs of what was. However historically because we didn’t have the means to document our experience or because our experiences somehow always echoed poverty, slavery and post-traumatic memory - all our photos began to parallel pain.
Photo Courtesy of Rihanna Book - Phaidon Publishing
I feel it’s so important to document black bodies in luxury, in beautiful spaces without the tone of defense, resistance and protest. If left alone, if truly there was a space carved out in the world where black folx could be creative, use our genius to design, imagine and wander - without the prejudiced gaze, I feel deep in my blood and bone that this reality would be different. Where would we be if we could live in the mountains, carve wood tables and sip fresh brewed tea leaves with our beloved and tend to flowers without any threat? We are muses and we should be using our beautiful minds to create, not have to be in a constant state of resistance - it’s exhausting.
This compilation of over 1000 photos of Rihanna can be taken as if she married the possibility of exploring the relationship between herself and the lens. A lens which she controlled. A lens that did not ask permission to have her body photographed in beautiful idyllic places around the world. A lens which did not need permission from any superior thinking being. No. This is a work which will be in libraries for generations to use as reference as to how fabulous this black woman expressed her life through music, fashion, beauty, liberation and art.
“I am so excited to share this collection of incredible images. I’m very grateful to the talented photographers and artists who contributed. We’ve been working on the book for over five years and I’m really happy to be able to finally share it with everybody.”
Pick up your copy of the Rihanna book published by Phaidon right here at The Silver Room.
Top Photo: Courtesy of Dennis Leupold / @badgalriri