Rihanna has put rumours of her ongoing rivalry with Beyoncé to bed by asking the media and music fans to stop pitting black women against one another.
Earlier this week, the ANTI singer found herself the subject of speculation that she had been angered by her lack of Grammy nominations in two major categories. While Rihanna was honoured with nominations for eight categories – including Record of the Year and Best R&B Performance – Beyoncé was nominated for both Best Album of the Year and Best Song of the Year, for Lemonade and Formation respectively.
According to E News, some fans began speculating that Rihanna’s lack of inclusion in these major categories could create tension between the two women, who’ve known one another for over a decade.
And Rihanna inadvertently fanned the flames of rivalry speculation when she liked a photo on a fan Instagram account which suggested she’d been snubbed in order to prevent her outshining Beyoncé.
“I think they didn’t want her tied or passing someone else *cough cough*,” read the post on the @rihannagang_ Instagram feed, adding a lemon emoji. “Cause if they wouldn’t have played her she would have been in the lead with most Grammy nods.”
However, Rihanna has now responded by commenting on the same photo – dismissing the idea that there is any animosity between her and Queen B.
“I never actually read your caption, thought the pic was funny and moved right along!” she wrote. “Til I seen it pop up over and over!
“I’m petty af, yes,” she continued. “But this is just unnecessary! I wish y’all would drop this topic and see things from the bigger picture! We don’t need to be putting black women against each other! We deserve to be celebrated, and the Grammy Academy agrees!”
It’s a well-known and tiresome phenomenon that successful women often find themselves pitted against one another. We see it in the imaginary enmities whipped up between female judges on talent competitions (do Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne really like each other?!) as much as between R&B superstars and Hollywood actresses.
And Rihanna isn’t the first famous woman to speak out against the ridiculous assumption that all women are secretly holding themselves back from launching into a catfight.
Emily Blunt recently described a conversation she’d had with her The Huntsman: Winter's War co-star, Charlize Theron. “Charlize was like, 'Do you know what's funny is I think sometimes, whether it's the media or just society, [people] like to paint the picture that women sort of bitch about each other, and women are competitive and jealous and vying and watchful of each other,” said Blunt.
“And she said, 'And you know, the only issues I've ever had on set have been with a dude.' And I would agree. The only time I feel like I've rolled my eyes at somebody I've been working with, it's been a guy.”
Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall, meanwhile, have also criticised speculation that the female leads in Sex and the City didn’t get along.
“This sort of narrative, this ongoing cat fight, it really used to upset me for a very long time,” Parker told Howard Stern in October.
“The press has to put women in these boxes rather than show them as… working together and being powerful,” said Cattrall. “Things just have to be explosive for no other reason than for people's imaginations.”
Images: Rex Features