Rihanna Gets Real About Racism In NYT Interview

"People are judging you because you're packaged a certain way."

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

In her latest interview, Rihanna opened up about a topic that most people of color are all too familiar with: racism. The singer sat down with The New York Times style magazine for a cover story that turned out to be more revealing than anyone expected, including her interviewer, author and director Miranda July. When July asked the Barbados native how her experience of immigrating to New York as a teen shaped her views on race, Rihanna replied with the kind of frank honesty that makes celeb profiles worth reading:

"You know, when I started to experience the difference — or even have my race be highlighted — it was mostly when I would do business deals," Rihanna said. "And, you know, that never ends, by the way. It's still a thing. And it's the thing that makes me want to prove people wrong. It almost excites me; I know what they're expecting and I can't wait to show them that I'm here to exceed those expectations."

Rihanna continued, "But I have to bear in mind that those people are judging you because you're packaged a certain way — they've been programmed to think a black man in a hoodie means grab your purse a little tighter. For me, it comes down to smaller issues, scenarios in which people can assume something of me without knowing me, just by my packaging."

Tell it, Riri. In an age of endless self-promotion, it's refreshing to see a pop star — especially one of Rihanna's caliber — use their platform to speak truthfully about social issues that affect so many of us. To read the full interview (and bask in the glory that is Robyn "Rihanna" Fenty), head on over to the NYT's website.

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