What Rihanna’s S&M fetish tells us about the Barbadian psyche

Junior Campbell, otherwise known as Poeticjazztice, writes some very readable pieces for AllVoices. His latest is a series of three posts about male bashing in Barbados and elsewhere.

“And I have been wondering further, just lately, if this clearly most internationally recognizable Barbadian’s behaviour might tell us anything about the Barbadian psyche.”

In a strange convergence we have Rihanna appointed as Tourism Ambassador, Rolling Stone Magazine calling her the “Queen of Pain” for her sadomasochistic behaviours, and Junior Campbell wondering what Rihanna’s behaviour tells us about ourselves as Bajans. We’ll start off with the second article in the series, but you’ll have to visit AllVoices to finish it and read the other parts. That’s only fair.

I don’t suppose that the folks at the Barbados Tourism Authority read the Rolling Stone article in question before they jumped for a life preserver? Didn’t think so!

Take it away, Junior…

Male bashing in Barbados (#2): Rihanna’s psychic rift and reality

I am indebted to Rolling Stone magazine for an insightful article that has shone some light on international R&B artist Rihanna’s extraordinary musical endorsement of sadomasochism (S&M) – an extraordinary endorsement, given her much publicized, horrific subjection to violent physical abuse at the hands of ex-boyfriend Chris Browne.

Like many of her fans, I imagine, I have been trying to make sense of the Barbadian singing sensation’s apparent comfort crooning about a passion for pain when the stain of Brown’s assault is probably still a scourge on her psyche.

I have been wondering, could her decision to do the Number One hit single S&M be part of a healing strategy – consciously or unconsciously pursued by the 23 year old star? Could it be an act of denial or defiance: her way of saying to Browne and to the world you didn’t and/or can’t hurt me?

And I have been wondering further, just lately, if this clearly most internationally recognizable Barbadian’s behaviour might tell us anything about the Barbadian psyche. Particularly if her story, so far, might be a reflection of Barbadians’ capacity to absorb conflict and violence – a trait of Barbadians, sometimes confused with docility, that I have found myself exploring here and elsewhere, in my own and in other Barbadians’ stories, repeatedly.

The Josh Eells Rolling Stone cover story entitled “Rihanna: Queen of pain” answers my speculation about the emerald-eyed rocking Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s defiant reasoning affirmatively. While all her talk about pain and domination “is about pushing buttons, and the transgressive thrill she gets from being bad” writes Eells “it’s also largely defensive.”

Continue reading this article at AllVoices


Filed under Barbados, Celebrities, Rihanna

11 responses to “What Rihanna’s S&M fetish tells us about the Barbadian psyche

  1. RiRi

    Rihanna is hardly a good choice as a role model. More like a female Tiger Woods. How will she impact the barbados brand? I don’t know.

  2. Observing

    The article presumes that any of what Rihanna projects is not the product of market research and focus groups.

    The article might be more insightful if we were to look at what it says about US and global culture that they find Rihanna so appealing.

  3. watch

    Well is the BTA’s choice for using her marketing a result of focus groups too?
    Does she resonate with our key market segments that they find her type of entertainment or character appealing?
    Or is she just a big international brand and once it is big we will use it. Well I am truly thankful that Lady Gaga is not Barbadian or we would all be therefore little monsters here.

  4. Straight talk

    Although there is definitely apparent the manufactured image as Observed above.
    There could also be a discernible deeper undercurrent of sexual magnetism much stronger than the oft perceived economic stratification of our not yet unified society.
    Sex, religion and patriotism being some of the only human urges to transcend rational thought and social mores.

    Rather than the cheap sensationalism that many describe on here, to others it may actually be seen it as high art, exposing our basest emotions and causing profound reflection on race, bondage and human dignity.

    Of course all the above may be bullshit, but hey just examine why your first reaction to this blog was so.

  5. Eli

    Does Rihanna really reflect Barbados? Really? Is Barbados vulgar and raunchy? I think she is a bad choice to represent such a beautiful place with such warm hearted people.

  6. Straight talk

    +To me she does reflect your Barbados.
    As a person, she comes across as beautiful and warm hearted.

    Remember she is in show business and “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”

    Most people manage to separate the two.

  7. Observing

    “Of course all the above may be bullshit, but hey just examine why your first reaction to this blog was so.”

    Good point, however I would maintain that much of Rihanna’s image is “product” as with any global entertainer……

    To attempt to analyze her image for insights into Barbados society is to analyze a product produced and packaged for a primarily North American audience. The form of that product is determined more by the perceptions and demands of that market rather than anything genuinely Barbadian.

  8. bk

    what a bunch of shite, are you guys serious, how does the opinions and fantasies of an individual relate to their country of origin, if chains and whips excite Rihanna then that’s her. OMG Barbados is so ‘in the box’ and at the very bottom too.

  9. Johnny Postle

    So this fellow who obviously can write believes that Rihanna’s fetish relates to country of origin. Ok so all the pervs in the world and their behaviours relates to country of origin. That racism in every country is fueled by country of origin, That alcoholics are a product of their country of origin. That christians who sin after being raised inthe church stems from behaviours the reflect their country of origin. That poverty and starving people who by any means necessary will seek satisfy the hungers pains by stealing stems from the country of origin. A bunch of shite.

  10. Idiot Madman

    Rihanna is as beautiful as the day is long, you all just jealous and twisted.

    Wunna got a problem with sexuality?

  11. 6

    Please this article leaves much to say – agree Observing. Whether Rhianna like S&M or not – can this reflect the entire Barbados then I living among some seriously kinky people….. Wah Loss