For someone so famous, Rihanna has a knack for finding ways to move through the world like a regular person. She put that skill to good use recently when she went undercover to attend a protest in New York in support of stopping hate against the Asian American Pacific Islander communities. Rihanna joined her longtime assistant Tina Truong at the march, and Truong posted photos from the action on her Instagram on Monday morning, though she did not call attention to the fact that it was the singer beside her.
Rihanna was clad in a black leather outfit, a hat, sunglasses, and, of course, a face mask, while holding a sign that read “HATE = RACISM AGAINST GOD.” An Instagram story showed Rihanna herself making the sign. Though her face was obscured, Rihanna certainly didn’t keep to herself during the action. Truong’s Instagram Story shows the singer enthusiastically dancing along in the street to chants. At one point, when a fellow marcher asked for Rihanna’s Instagram account, she typed into his phone, revealing who she was.
The singer is no stranger to marching in the streets. She also joined protestors in New York City back in 2017 the day after former President Donal Trump’s inauguration for the Women’s March. Then, she dabbed in front of Trump Tower on 5th Avenue.
After Trump and his conservative allies took glee in pushing the term “China Virus” to describe Covid-19, an analysis by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino found that while hate crimes overall dropped in 2020, hate crimes against the AAPI communities actually rose a gut-wrenching 150 percent during the year. Nowhere else was that rise as prominent as it was in New York City, where there were 28 recorded anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020 compared to just three recorded in 2019 (and always remember, that officially recorded incidents don’t tell the entire story).
While activists have called attention to the disturbing trend before, the issue was laid bare after six out of eight people killed during a mass shooting in Atlanta last month were Asian-American women.