CULTURE

Let Rihanna Headline Coachella

Like, why not?


John Shearer

Sure, Beyoncé’s conquering of Coachella’s stage is still fresh in our memories, and the next edition of the festival is more than two seasons away, but the Internet is already buzzing with rumors of who may headline the Southern California music festival/annual conference of Instagram influencers. The latest word, according to “sources” who spoke to HITS Daily Double: Promoters are in talks with Childish Gambino, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West to headline the three nights of the fest next year.

Now, putting aside the most pressing issue (that is seems stupid, if not irresponsible, to book West for anything at the moment, let alone months in advance), the rumors would mean that for the 16th time in the festival’s 19 occurrences, the headliners would all be men. That seems like a tone-deaf slap in the face, not only after the sociopolitical events of this year, but also due to the fact that Beyoncé single-handedly injected a fresh batch of badly needed relevance into the festival last year.

So what gives? There are plenty of female (or female-lead) headline possibilities to chose from, both from the pop charts (Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, a Gwen Stefani–led No Doubt reunion, to name a few) and from Coachella’s original speciality, indie rock (St. Vincent, Björk, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Still, it’s pretty obvious, at least to us, who would be the ideal platonic headliner at this point in Coachella’s history: Ms. Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Let us count the reasons.

1. She’s Pretty Much There Every Year Anyway

Rihanna has been a regular audience member at Coachella for the better part of the past decade, and she’s even hosted her own parties in conjunction with the fest.

2. Even in the Audience, She Still Makes Headlines

Whether it’s rolling a joint on her bodyguard’s bald head, wearing a head-to-toe crystal mesh bodysuit from Gucci, or just getting her life while watching Bey, she somehow manages to make more headlines than the artists who actually perform.

3. She’ll Probably Have New Music out Soon

After releasing new albums on an almost annual basis, Rihanna has taken some time off from the studio in recent years. It’s been two years since Anti, which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that long, but fans are gasping for more. There are numerous reports she’s been working on a new album (either reggae or dance music influence, depending on which rumors you’ve heard), and she’s taken to alerting her followers that new music is coming soon. In any event, there’s a good chance she’ll have something to promote by next April.

4. She’s Got Plenty of Previous Festival Experience

It wouldn’t be anything new for her. She’s played Made in America, Radio One’s Hackney Weekend, Rock in Rio, Global Citizen, V Festival, and more. She’s got the experience. Heck, her brief cameo performance during Calvin Harris’s set at Coachella’s 2012 edition was more memorable than most of the actual performances that year, anyway.

5. Honestly, She’d Be Better Than the Rumored Other Choices

Gambino is a solid and relevant choice, sure, but Timberlake’s last album flopped, and Kanye is, well, doing what it is Kanye is prone to do. The only reason we can imagine Rihanna not headlining Coachella is simply if she doesn’t want to.

Go Inside Rihanna’s Fourth Annual Diamond Ball, With Childish Gambino, Issa Rae, and the Bad Gal Herself

Rihanna at her fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur

Childish Gambino/Donald Glover and the actress Issa Rae attend Rihanna’s fourth Annual Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

ANGELA WEISS

A$AP Rocky attends Rihanna’s fourth Annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Dimitrios Kambouris

Rihanna attends her fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur

Joan Smalls attends Rihanna’s fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Dimitrios Kambouris

Paris Hilton attends Rihanna’s fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur

Issa Rae speaks onstage during Rihanna’s fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Dimitrios Kambouris

The artist Sasha Velour attends Rihanna’s fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

ANGELA WEISS

Candice Swanepoel attends Rihanna’s fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur

Tiffany Haddish attends Rihanna’s fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur

Rihanna watches Childish Gambino perform during her fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur

Childish Gambino performs onstage during Rihanna’s fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur

Teyana Taylor attends the 2018 Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Taylor Hill

Seth Meyers speaks onstage during Rihanna’s fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur

Ellen von Unwerth attends the 2018 Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Taylor Hill

Justine Skye attends the 2018 Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Taylor Hill

Keyshia Ka’Oir and Gucci Mane attend the 2018 Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Taylor Hill

Melii attends the 2018 Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Taylor Hill

Rihanna speaks onstage during her fourth annual Diamond Ball benefitting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 13, 2018, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Mazur
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