Mosque photoshoot puts badgalriri under scrutiny yet again


Angela Perez de Tagle, Staff Writer

She may be bad, but she’s perfectly good at it.

According to Associated Press, earlier this week the 25-year-old music sensation Rihanna was asked to leave the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi for conducting a photoshoot deemed by overseers as inappropriate and disrespectful.

The photos were initially publicized on Rihanna’s instagram account (badgalriri), portraying the pop icon fully clothed in a black jumpsuit. Her attire sported the traditional hijab while incorporating her own twist of accessory and vividly red nail polish.

The shoot took place onsite in the mosque’s courtyard, after Rihanna was said to have attempted entering through an entrance that was not designated for visitors. Officials then instructed her to “carry out a visit under the normal conditions.”

Later, a statement from the mosque was released, saying, “She was asked to leave before entering the actual mosque…after taking some photos that did not fit within the rules and regulations set out to preserve the sacredness of the center.”

Captions for the images were just as controversial as the photos themselves. One photo displayed Rihanna lying flat on her back, underneath the sun with the hashtag “#NoTanLines” accompanying it. Another showed her glancing at a group of similarly dressed women, captioning it as “Bitch stole my look.”

The decision to pose for the photoshoot was controversial from the moment it burst onto headlines, and despite Rihanna abiding with the mosque’s dress guidelines (black clothing covering the body from head to toe), an outbreak of heated tweets and comments from the public emerged.

Among many statements were those describing Rihanna’s actions as breaking moral codes and disrupting the sanctity of the site.

Senior Alexis Wilson said, “The clothes she was wearing are meant to be worn in a specific way. Rihanna should have been more respectful by knowing the significance of that attire and location for [people of that religion.]”

Wilson does not consider herself a Rihanna fan, nor does she enjoy the popstar’s music. “It has a ‘party’ theme and no significant message within the lyrics. I lean on music as a way to relieve stress and listen to topics I can actually relate to.”

Likewise, senior Jay Aurora simply said, “[The photoshoot] was inappropriate because [a mosque] is not a place to look attractive or sexy, that is a place of worship.”

News articles throughout the web have made claims stating Rihanna was ‘kicked out,’ ‘booted,’ and ‘ejected’ from the Grand Mosque. The negative connotation expressed in headlines have, as one source stated, gotten Rihanna “into trouble again.”

Yet apart from these opinions, Rihanna has also received a fair amount of support from both fans and non-fans.

“Well, I can really see both sides of it. By our definition, her actions and dress are not inappropriate, but over there it’s a totally different thing. The customs and cultures are different. I think it would have been better had she talked to the appointed people beforehand, but hey. She’s Rihanna, what can you do?” Tumblr user hxcnarry posted.

Senior Jorge Rodriguez stated, “It was disrespectful, definitely. I’m still a fan though because I love the fact that she does what she wants and doesn’t give a ****. It’s just that sometimes she could be a little more considerate.”

Rihanna has yet to make a public statement about the photos.

For now, the issue has left people contemplating the implications of her actions, and caused us to realize the difficulty in understanding cultures from halfway around the world.

Rihanna at the Grand Mosque





Photo credits:

Instagram: Rihanna

Photographer: Steven Gomillion & Dennis Leupold

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