Last week Rihanna launched the virtual runway show for her Savage X Fenty lingerie collection; some of the viewers found something odd beyond the vibrant and exclusive performance and choreography. The background music track used the song “Doom” by musical producer Coucou Chloe that had hadith, an Islamic text, mingled in with the lyrics.
Since then, the singer faced a backlash from her Muslim followers who called her out to use Islamic Scriptures for her lingerie fashion show. The song entails hadith about the judgment day and end of times, which are the sayings of the beloved Prophet Mohammad and his closest followers.
After several days of facing criticism on social media, Coucou Chloe took to Twitter to apologize for using the hadith and announced that the song would soon be removed from all streaming options. On Tuesday, Rihanna posted a personal statement on her Instagram, apologizing for the incident.
She started by thanking the Muslim community for pointing out the oversight and said that it was an unintentional happenstance at the Savage X Fenty show. She apologized profusely and realized that it must have heard many Muslim brothers and sisters, which saddened her deeply. She accepted all the responsibility or lack thereof and promised to pay more attention to such thing carrying forward.
This isn’t the first time stars have come under fire for misappropriation of the Muslim culture. In 2012, Lady Gaga incited a heated argument when she started decking in burqa-like clothing, and rumors were heard about releasing a song that sexualized the garment. Similarly, French fashion designer Marine Serre has been under continuous fire for using the crescent moon motif, an Islamic symbol, and designing headwear that is suspiciously similar to the Hijab.
However, the controversy surrounding the Savage X Fenty show is an isolated moment because the brand has thrived on its emphasis on inclusivity. Rihanna’s past runway shows, and her beauty line have been praised far and wide for their diversified casting. Her fashion shows have been lauded to include models from every race, body type, and gender identity—especially compared to the mainstream lingerie space like Victoria’s Secret, which has been critiqued for promoting a pre-defined body standard and lack of racial and gender diversity.
Even after earning a much-deserved reputation that Rihanna developed after proving that diversity can be a crucial selling point for a brand, many observers are still watching closely to see if this reputation stays earned.