Rihanna just responded after being asked by a fan to hold a casting call for trans models. Some are praising the Rihanna trans statement about LGBT diversity and inclusion, while others are labeling her words as problematic.
The fan asked Rihanna to consider using a trans woman to promote her Fenty Beauty make-up range, a line already celebrated for catering to a wider range of skin tones and types than most mainstream brands.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with many gifted trans women over the years,” Rihanna replied, “but I don’t go around doing trans castings!”
“I respect all women. Whether they’re trans or not is none of my business.”
— savage (@lbertootero) November 29, 2017
Rihanna clarified that a person’s transgender identity is their own business, and that some trans people are more public about it while others are more private.
“It’s personal, and some trans women are more comfortable being open about it than others so I have to respect that as a woman myself!”
The star went on to criticize firms who hire models from minority groups as a “token” gesture.
“I don’t think it’s fair that a trans woman, or man, be used as a convenient marketing tool,” she said.
“Too often I see companies doing this to trans and black women alike. There’s always just that one spot in the campaign for the token ‘we look mad diverse’ girl/guy! It’s sad!”
Some fans praised the pop star’s stance. “As a trans woman I have so much admiration and respect for Rihanna,” wrote @anonymouse1414. “She worded all of that so perfectly and respectful and kind. She’s a true angel.”
“Good on Rihanna to not want to exploit trans women just for the sake of marketing,” added @silbiee.
However, some did point out that Rihanna’s thinking could be what other brand’s use as a defense for a lack of diversity.
Twitter user @Normachos said, “What? I get her reasoning but at the same time including a trans woman or man to appreciate them isn’t exploiting them but rather celebrating them. A makeup company that lacks diversity could use the same excuse as Rihanna. It’s kinda bullshit.”
User @TeenSuccubus replied, “I see where Rihanna is coming from, but I do think a platform for trans people to be on beauty campaigns is important. Of course tokenism is an issue, but I think representation is so important and tokenism doesn’t always negate a positive reception.”