Muslims around the world took to social media to slam pop megastar Rihanna this weekend after her raunchy fashion show featured sexualized dancing to a song that featured quotes from the Islamic text known as the Hadith.
The Barbadian singer, whose real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, kicked off the controversy last Friday during a pre-recorded fashion show aired on Amazon Prime to mark the release of her latest lingerie line, Savage X Fenty Volume 2.
During the show, models danced to the song “Doom” by the London-based producer Coucou Chloe. The song remixes some quotes from the Hadith, a collection of quotes by the Muhammad that Muslims use as religious guidance. The Hadiths are considered separate from the text of the Quran but just as holy.
Muslims around the world took to Twitter to express their disgust at the show, describing it as disrespectful to the Islamic religion and holding Rihanna responsible:
“As a Muslim, no words can describe how disappointed I am with Rihanna for letting her models dance to hadith,” one person said on Twitter.
“Just because she’s Rihanna doesn’t give her a free pass to disrespect a religion,” another added.
The 32-year-old singer has since apologized for the show, describing it as an “honest, yet careless mistake.”
“I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our Savage X Fenty show,” she wrote on her Instagram story. “I would more importantly like to apologize for this honest, yet careless mistake. We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and I’m incredibly disheartened by this!”
“I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of the song in our project was completely irresponsible,” she continued. “Moving forward we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
It is not the first time that Rihanna has faced criticism for alleged insensitivity toward Islam. In 2013, the nine-time Grammy-winner was asked to leave a mosque in Abu Dhabi after holding an unauthorized photoshoot, with the complex’s authorities describing the images as “inappropriate.”
In August, rap megastar Kanye West also came under fire for naming his Yeezy Boost trainers Israfil and Asriel, the names of two Islamic angels. Some Muslims were so appalled they filed petitions to Adidas demanding the names be changed and calling for boycotts of the brand. Such efforts are unlikely to be successful given the popularity of West’s brand. In 2019 alone, West generated a staggering $1.5 billion from sales of his Yeezy brand.