There is a right way to do something, and then there's Rihanna's way of doing something — a fact that rings especially true when it comes to the singer's groundbreaking Fenty Beauty line. Not only did she make sure that people of all skin tones could enjoy the creamy, full-coverage foundations by offering 40 shades, but she also delivered a diverse marketing campaign that raised the bar for the rest of the beauty industry.
Suffice it to say, a great deal of effort went into prioritizing one crucial thing: inclusivity. So when Twitter user and graphic designer @lbertootero suggested that RiRi invite a trans woman to the next casting call, she was reportedly quick to address the fan's concerns over DM, and — because this is Rihanna we're talking about here — she also dropped a thoughtful response in the process.
When I thought she couldn't teach me more... @rihanna ❤ pic.twitter.com/iAX3kJBAr1— savage (@lbertootero) November 29, 2017
"I've had the pleasure of working with many gifted trans women throughout the years, but I don't go around doing trans castings!" Rihanna reportedly wrote in a response, which the fan posted to Twitter. "Just like I don't do straight non trans women castings! I respect all women, and whether they're trans or not is none of my business! I don't think it's fair that a trans woman, or man, be used as a convenient marketing tool! 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!"
The fan then allegedly DM'd the star to apologize for sounding critical and to express understanding — as well as ask permission to share the screenshot. Rihanna reportedly replied, "You absolutely didn't babe! Just didn't want you to think I intentionally leave anyone out!"
The post has since racked up nearly 2,000 likes and multiple responses, and was re-posted by The Shade Room where fans took to the comments to show their support. "Exactly trans women ARE WOMEN. When there is casting for women all WOMEN, trans, black, Asian, white, Hispanic, Latina, curvy, and skinny should be welcomed with WIDE arms!!" one wrote. Dozens more called for "Rihanna for president."
Others argued that hiring trans people on major campaigns is crucial for representation — something that has historically been lacking within the beauty industry. The band Sateen tweeted, "We respect Rihanna and agree that Trans bodies are used as an easy way to make brands appear 'inclusive'. But at this point visibility is integral for trans ppl. More brands need to be hiring trans/gnc ppl and poc in GENERAL." Another wrote, "Everybody is applauding her for saying this but to me that just sounds like an excuse to not include somebody."
We've reached out to the fan and Fenty Beauty for further comment and to confirm the validity of this exchange.