It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Rihanna. There are a lot of celebrities I would love to be best friends with, but Rihanna is at the top of that list. I just think she’s flawless. She’s just got it all, from her completely uncensored social media accounts to her super catchy, perfect songs to her amazing style. To me, Rihanna seems genuine in a way that a lot of stars aren’t. She’s never afraid to be herself, and so her public persona never comes off as an act just for attention because, well, it isn’t.
There are a lot of things I could write about Rihanna in honor of her 26th birthday (happy birthday, boo!), but I settled on her most controversial moments because they are a big part of what make Rihanna as famous as she is. Even when Rihanna does things I don’t agree with, like giving Chris Brown a second chance, I still love to hear about her crazy antics. So, to celebrate her birthday, here are 26 of Rihanna’s most controversial moments on Instagram, Twitter, and just in general.
Her S&M music video
A lot of Rihanna’s music videos have garnered negative attention (you’ll see more on this list), but none quite so much as S&M. The lyrics aren’t the only things that are racy… this video was banned in 11 countries and was restricted on YouTube.
Her naked Instagram fireplace photo
Rihanna posts a TON of half-naked pictures of herself on Instagram almost every day… but some photos have been more controversial than others. Like this one, of her completely naked from the waist down hanging by a fireplace wearing some kind of fur hat. Only Rihanna.
Her “Cake” remix with Chris Brown
As if the song “Cake” wasn’t crazy enough on it’s own, Rihanna made things even worse when she collaborated on a remix with her ex, Chris Brown. This was before they tried rekindling their romance, but it definitely made everyone go insane.
Her “777” tour
Back in 2012, Rihanna went on a crazy 7-day tour to a few different countries and invited a bunch of journalists along (I was jealous). The whole thing was supposed to be amazing, but it ended up being a complete failure. Everyone was complaining, they barely saw Rihanna, and it was basically just terrible.
Her Coachella experience
Rihanna posts way too many pictures of herself with marijuana, but this one of her doing something possibly drug-related at Coachella was one of the most controversial.
Her strip club pictures
Another one of Rihanna’s favorite activities is going to the strip club, and she always makes sure to post about it on her Instagram. Oh, Ri-Ri.
When she talked about getting back together with Chris Brown in a Rolling Stone interview
Rihanna was quoted saying, “I decided it was more important for me to be happy. I wasn’t going to let anybody’s opinion get in the way of that. Even if it’s a mistake, it’s my mistake. After being tormented for so many years, being angry and dark, I’d rather just live my truth and take the backlash. I can handle it.”
The “Love The Way You Lie” music video with Eminem
Everyone freaked out when Rihanna hopped on this song with Eminem. That’s because it was about domestic abuse, something Rihanna had dealt with just recently with Chris Brown. Critics called her a hypocrite and a terrible role model.
All of Rihanna’s drug references
Like I said before, Rihanna posts a ridiculous amount of pictures of herself with marijuana. So, no one was really surprised when she dressed up as a “weed fairy” for Halloween one year. But she’s Rihanna, so it was a big deal.
When she publicly made a racist joke about Chris Brown’s girlfriend
For a little while, Chris Brown, his GF Karrueche Tran, and Rihanna seemed to be in some sort of weird love triangle. Rihanna dealt with it by posting this picture with the caption, “Ima make you my bitch.” It was an obvious dig at Karrueche, who is Vietnamese (rice cake is a racist slur). Not cool, Ri-Ri.
When she wore her hair wrapped at the 2013 AMA’s
This isn’t exactly controversial, it’s just pretty awesome. At the most recent AMA’s, Rihanna showed up with her hair wrapped – this is a way women typically only wear their hair when they’re bumming it at home or going to sleep. For a celeb like Rihanna to go to a major awards show with her hair like that, it basically showed that she was super confident… and maybe just didn’t care about getting ready.
Her “Can’t Remember To Forget You” video with Shakira
This video just came out a few weeks ago, and it immediately made headlines… because Rihanna and Shakira get super close. A lot of people were not pleased because OMG GIRLS TOUCHING EACH OTHER.
Her Victoria’s Secret after-show pictures
Rihanna managed to steal all of the attention away from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show one year by posting nearly-naked pictures of herself lounging after her performance.
When she said she wasn’t a role model
A lot of people got angry when Rihanna was quoted saying this, “Role Model’ is not a position or title that I have ever campaigned for, so chill wit dat! I got my own f***ed up s*** to work on, I’ll never portray that as perfect, but for right now it’s ME!! Call it what ya want!!” I felt for her, though. Maybe she just wanted to make music… not be someone girls should look up to.
The fight Drake and Chris Brown got into over her
A few years ago, Drake and Chris Brown supposedly got into a huge brawl at a nightclub… over Rihanna. It made my heart break, because I just want Drake and Rihanna to be together SO BADLY.
Her thigh-high boots photo
You would think that, at a certain point, people would stop freaking out about Rihanna’s naked pictures. You would be wrong.
Her “What’s My Name” X-Factor performance
A few years ago, Rihanna performed on X-Factor. A lot of viewers were not happy with her sexy performance. Maybe at this point I’m just used to Rihanna’s antics, but this doesn’t even seem that bad to me.
Rihanna’s pictures with a slow loris
Late in 2013, Rihanna posted this photo with a slow loris to her Instagram, probably just thinking it was cute. Instead, she got two dudes arrested because they are an endangered species. Oops.
Her emotional Oprah interview
A few years ago, Rihanna did an interview with Oprah where she wore the dress version of an Arizona Iced Tea can. She also got super emotional and talked about how she still loved Chris Brown. The world collectively groaned/felt really sorry for her.
When she was kicked out of Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque for being inappropriate
In October of 2013, Rihanna did a photoshoot at Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque. She was asked to leave because she was destroying the “sanctity” of the grounds. Obviously, this was a pretty big deal.
Rihanna’s possible sex tape with J. Cole
In 2011, Hustler claimed they had a sex tape featuring Rihanna and J.Cole. Sources close to Rihanna denied it was a real thing, and if it was, it never leaked.
Her provocative photo with Kate Moss
This was controversial because, again, OMG GIRLS BEING SEXY TOGETHER.
When she explicitly talked about sex
Rihanna doesn’t just sing about sex… she openly talks about it, also. She once said, “Being submissive in the bedroom is really fun. You get to be a little lady, to have somebody be macho and in charge of your s—. That’s fun to me … I like to be spanked. Being tied up is fun. I like to keep it spontaneous. Sometimes whips and chains can be overly planned—you gotta stop, get the whip from the drawer downstairs. I’d rather have him use his hands.”
Her performance with Britney Spears at the Billboard Music Awards
A few years ago, Rihanna and Britney did an amazing remix of S&M. Goddesses. It wasn’t exactly controversial, but it got a ton of attention because they’re Ri-Ri and Brit, you know?
Rihanna’s gun tattoo
When Rihanna got this tiny tattoo of a gun on her side, everyone flipped. Why? I don’t know.
Her rumored affair with Jay-Z
For a long time after Jay-Z signed Rihanna, there were a ton of rumors that the two were having an affair. They denied it, and Rihanna once talked about it to Cosmo, saying, “I felt self-conscious around him until he took me aside and said that I just had to ignore it.”
Are you a fan of Rihanna? Which of these moments do you think was the craziest? What did I forget? Tell me in the comments.