Pushing back against Trump's offensive claims that America's gun issues are rooted in matters of mental health, Rihanna said in a new Vogue interview that such an ideology misses the fact that people are being killed with legally purchased weapons of war.
"That should never, ever be normal," she said when asked about her reactions to the recent El Paso and Dayton attacks. "And the fact that it's classified as something different because of the color of their skin? It's a slap in the face. It's completely racist . . . Put an Arab man with that same weapon in that same Walmart and there is no way that Trump would sit there and address it publicly as a mental health problem. The most mentally ill human being in America right now seems to be the president."
Elsewhere in the interview, Rihanna said she did indeed turn down a Super Bowl halftime show opportunity out of support for Colin Kaepernick. "Absolutely. I couldn’t dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
She also detailed the current status of her reggae-inspired new music. "We always went into the music this time around saying that we were going to do two different pieces of art," she explained of the sessions that will ultimately result in the fan-nicknamed R9. "One was gonna be inspired by the music that I grew up listening to. And one was gonna be the evolution of where I’m going next with music."
Elaborating on previous reports that posited the new album as a full-blown reggae collection, Rihanna clarified that it's more "reggae-inspired or reggae-infused." Asked why reggae "feels right for this moment" in her career, she added that "reggae always feels right" to her.
"It's in my blood," she said. "It doesn’t matter how far or long removed I am from that culture, or my environment that I grew up in; it never leaves. It’s always the same high."
As for a time-frame, Rih noted, "I have been trying to get back into the studio. It’s not like I can lock myself in for an extended amount of time, like I had the luxury of doing before. I know I have some very unhappy fans who don’t understand the inside bits of how it works.”
Catch the full Rihanna x Vogue experience here.
Earlier this week, Rihanna detailed the impending launch of a new self-titled visual autobiography book in partnership with Phaidon. The 504-page fan-pleaser consists of more than 1,000 photos chronicling the artist's years-long journey to the Rihanna of today. As Rihanna explained in an announcement post, the book has been in the works for over five years.