Is Rihanna a ‘Middle of the Road’ Pop Star?

Grace Jones, the Jamaican singer who dominated the 80s both on the airwaves and big screen, made headlines by calling out several of today’s pop stars, including Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and Rihanna. In an excerpt published by Time Out, Jones criticizes the stars for having no originality and no long-term vision:

“Trends come along and people say, ‘Follow that trend’. There’s a lot of that around at the moment: ‘Be like Sasha Fierce. Be like Miley Cyrus. Be like Rihanna. Be like Lady Gaga. Be like Rita Ora and Sia. Be like Madonna.’ I cannot be like them – except to the extent that they are already being like me.”

Jones continues:

“The problem with the Dorises and the Nicki Minajes and Mileys is that they reach their goal very quickly. There is no long-term vision, and they forget that once you get into that whirlpool then you have to fight the system that solidifies around you in order to keep being the outsider you claim you represent.”

The excerpt concludes with Jones questioning whether today’s pop stars are true to themselves or merely resorting to their created personas in an attempt to maintain their popularity with the public:

“This is what I would say to my pupil: you have become only your fame, and left behind most of who you were. How are you going to deal with that? Will you lose that person forever? Have you become someone else, without really knowing it? Do you always have to stay in character for people to like you? Do you know that you are in character?”

Jones may have a point when it comes to several of today’s pop stars. At times, it seems like Miley Cyrus is no longer herself but rather a person whom she thinks the public wants her to be, or at least someone capable of making headlines.

But Rihanna? The Caribbean Queen has been herself from the moment she entered the music scene. Whether she’s dancing in Barbados or improving with Kanye at FYF Fest, what you see is what you get. She likes to party. She likes to make music. She likes to do what she wants.

As for not having a long-term vision, RiRi is only 27 years old and it has already been ten years since her first album was released, and her eighth studio album will be out in the near future. Add in her successes in the fashion industry, and it’s clear that Rihanna is prepared for the future, but is still focused on living for today.

And if Grace Jones doesn’t want to be like Rihanna, that’s completely her prerogative. But it’s her loss.