[That is what she is designed to do. No female artist looks quite as satanic as Rihanna apart from Beyonce, maybe.]
Last updated at 2:13 AM on 23rd March 2011
Vogue: It's yet more publicity for the girl from Barbados who, at just 23, has a string of No 1 hits and is currently at No 5 in the UK charts'
On the cover of the latest issue of American Vogue is a sultry shot of the pop singer Rihanna, posing in a skin-tight, transparent chiffon and lace dress.
It’s yet more publicity for the girl from Barbados who, at just 23, has a string of No 1 hits and is currently at No 5 in the UK charts.
Her latest release is called S&M. Its first verse includes the lines: ‘Feels so good being bad/There’s no way I’m turning back/Now the pain is my pleasure.’
You can hear its catchy refrain being sung by children all over the country right now: ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me.’
In the ordinary course of life, young teenagers would have no need whatsoever to know about sadomasochism. But thanks to the increasingly revolting music industry, they are now all too familiar with almost every permutation of the sex act.
Rihanna is by no means alone in the pornification of pop music. There’s a new single out at the moment by Skepta, a rapper from Tottenham, which is accompanied by a music video that I can only describe as hardcore porn.
It features explicit footage of a couple having sex, makes Madonna’s previous antics look like Watch With Mother and I suspect is being passed around via mobiles and laptops by teenagers all over the country.
Although it’s become a truism to say that today’s teens are the most over-sexualised generation ever, that doesn’t mean they know everything there is to know about sex — in fact, most of them know much less than they pretend.
But it does mean they are an easy target for a cynical music industry that continues to pump out ever more pornographic images and lyrics to sell records.
One friend of mine was deeply upset recently to hear her nine-year-old son singing on the school run, along with his friends, the chorus from a song called Do It Like A Dude.
The piping voices in the back of the car were rapping: ‘Dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty sucker/You think I can’t get hurt like you, you mother******.’
This lyric, by the way, is sung by an attractive 22-year-old Essex girl called Jessie J — and it reached No 2 in the charts last year.
Of course, my friend’s son has no idea what the words really mean. He’s also too young to find Jessie J’s frantic gyrations arousing. All he knows is that the song is rude — and like little boys the world over, he delights in saying words that he knows are prohibited.
However, he’s also at a vulnerable age when a child’s personality is still in the process of being formed. What children see, hear and do before adulthood can have far-reaching consequences.
Can we honestly say that the boys listening to all these mainstream songs that glorify aggressive sex will not be remotely affected later on?
S&M is only the latest in a long line of hits by the lissom Rihanna. I particularly remember a huge hit recorded with rap star Eminem. ‘I feel so ashamed I snap/I laid hands on her/I’ll never stoop so low again/I guess I don’t know my own strength,’ he raps.
To which Rihanna replies: ‘Just gonna stand there and hear me cry/But that’s all right because I like the way it hurts.’
This from a woman who was notoriously beaten by her former partner Chris Brown — and who, as a child watched her alcoholic father repeatedly beat her mother.
Why isn’t she telling the kids who buy her songs by the million that violence towards women is never acceptable? Why is she making songs that glorify near-rape? And why is the icily chic British Anna Wintour — the editor of American Vogue and herself a mother of two — putting Rihanna on the cover of her magazine? The answer, of course, is money.
By giving Rihanna the cover of the world’s most influential women’s magazine, Wintour makes Vogue edgy and bestows upmarket sophistication on the impoverished girl from Barbados. As Rihanna herself says breathlessly about the Vogue cover shoot: ‘It doesn’t get much bigger than this.’
Rihanna is estimated to be worth £70 million already. She, Jessie J, Skepta and their ilk rely on people like me feeling outrage. They want to be seen as treading on forbidden ground because there’s nothing like it for boosting sales.
So why should they — or Ms Wintour — care about the emotional stability of the children who make them ever richer?
Talk about The Glums. It’s hard to think of a
more miserable-looking pair than Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, pictured
yesterday in a rare photograph with all six of their children, who look equally
You’d have thought that Hollywood’s starriest couple could at least act as though they were happy — but if Angelina’s latest dreadful performance in the terrible thriller Salt is anything to go by, she’s forgotten how to act at all.
Family Glum: 'It¿s hard to think of a more miserable-looking pair than Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt'
Being particularly selfish and self-consumed seems to be a prerequisite for appearing on The Apprentice, so it’s a relief to hear from former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy that the show’s promotion of ruthlessness and bragging is a recipe for failure and that it’s selfless teamwork that creates success.
Sir Terry is reported to be a virtuous and dull workaholic who is unlikely ever to be given a TV show. But that didn’t stop him making Tesco the most outstandingly successful retailer of the last decade.
If you want to get on television, take your tips from that puffed up bully Lord Sugar.
If you want to succeed in business, listen to the boring but brilliant man from Tesco.
The only thing easier to spot at 50 paces
than a Boden outfit is an Orla Kiely bag. They both feature too many spots
and they’ve both stayed the same for too long. The new Boden catalogue pulls
off the remarkable feat of containing not a single covetable item: the same
old big buttons, block colours and round collars with no discernible new
Like that other mail order titan of the
past decade, The White Company, it’s become tired and predictable. Maybe the
glory days of the catalogue are over. And we lazy armchair shoppers might
actually have to contemplate the horrors of going into a real-life store
A friend reports overhearing a woman asking in her local Marks & Spencer if they had any bananas, to which the assistant replied: ‘Single or multipack?’ Whatever happened to that quaint old word, ‘bunch’?
'Only a foolish woman would try to compete with Diana. By not doing so I think Kate may well end up eclipsing her'
Prince William has already given Kate Middleton his mother’s engagement ring,
and now we learn that not only will the couple arrive at Buckingham Palace in
the same open-topped State Landau that drove Diana and Charles through the
crowds after their wedding, but they also plan to live at Diana’s former home,
Should we be concerned? I don’t think so. Kate Middleton strikes me as a very
secure individual. I’m sure she very sensibly does whatever makes her future
husband happy when it comes to his mother — which is, doubtless, one of the main
reasons he is marrying her.
Only a foolish woman would try to compete with Diana. By not doing so, I think Kate may well end up eclipsing her.
Wuthering Heights was the first book that
made me cry. I can still remember weeping in my tiny suburban South London
bedroom as Cathy and Heathcliff’s intense love affair on the Yorkshire moors
reached its tragic conclusion, even though, at 14, I’d experienced neither a
love affair nor a trip to Yorkshire.
The news that Radio 3 has felt the need to
introduce strong swear words into its forthcoming adaptation frankly makes me
want to weep again — but not so much as the thought that precious few teenagers
these days will want to listen to Wuthering Heights, far less actually read it.
Education secretary Michael Gove says he
wants pupils to be reading 50 books a year instead of what he estimates to be
the current average of two, ‘one of which always seems to be Of Mice And Men.’
I think 50’s pushing it. Five would be an achievement — even more so if one of them was Wuthering Heights.
Apparently a particularly popular sign of belonging to the middle class — which we’re asked to believe is how seven in ten of us now describe ourselves — is owning a cafetiere. This is because, according to a poll, most people who consider themselves middle class wouldn’t dream of drinking instant coffee, thinking it a sign of inferior status.
Not true. You’re most likely to find instant coffee in the homes of the truly grand, who couldn’t care less what people think of them.
As someone who frequently forgets what I’ve gone into another room for, I’m indebted to the Mail’s Good Health pages for telling us that, contrary to received wisdom, our brains actually improve with age. If only I could remember why...