January 15, 2020
Fans play the music industry’s tune by demanding stars release new product on schedule. Instead, we should love what we have and give artists creative headroom
Leave Rihanna alone! A manifesto for healthier pop fandom in the 2020s
In the final days of December, speculation that Rihanna might be about to release her ninth album, known among fans simply as R9, entered overdrive. Despite the many articles and social media posts leaking titbits about the work in progress over the last four years, Rihanna has never shared official details about the project, though she once said her next album would come out in 2019.
It’s because of this throwaway comment in 2018 that relations between Rihanna and her “stans” (super fans) reached a kind of mania in late December. The star has posted taunts about “listening to R9 by myself and refusing to release it”, while her fans are gleefully joking about breaking into her house and holding her at knifepoint to obtain the album. Whatever Rihanna posts – whether it’s about the Australian bushfires or a friend who has died – the response is the same. Among Rihanna’s first tweets of 2020 was a carefree selfie. The first reply came from a fan: a picture of a child holding a knife, captioned: “Where’s the damn album.”
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