Rihanna is a pro at making headlines for her outrageous behavior, and yet the pop star tries to make us believe that her double collaborations with Chris Brown was not an attempt to court controversy. During a Q&A with the UK issue of Esquire, the journalist asks Rihanna what the public has been wondering and debating about since the release of the “Birthday Cake” and “Turn Up The Music” remixes: why did she decide to collaborate with Brown? What did she think the response would be? And how does this affect her stance on domestic violence? Unfortunately, Rihanna was either unwilling or not ready to answer those questions.
The pop star gets increasingly irritated as the interview goes on, and tries to change the subject multiple times. When the journalist continues pressing her, RiRi calls this “a tacky interview” and defends her actions by claiming that her collaboration with Brown was “just music”.
Read the full transcript of the interview below — it’s long, but it’s worth a read.
Esquire: What has been the Twitter response to the Chris Brown remixes?
Rihanna: Some love it, some hate it, some love it but still hate that we did it. But the response in the end has been incredible.
Esquire: Was that [the recording session] the first time you’d seen him in a while?
Rihanna: When would we have seen each other? We’ve both been working and touring. [changes the subject]. This is really good food.
Esquire: It proved quite a controversial thing.
Rihanna: Well… definitely. Definitely. The whole thing caught me a little off-guard to be honest… especially the amount of… negative attention. Because it never occurred to me how this was going to be a problem, you know. It really didn’t.
Esquire: Because enough time had passed that it was OK?
Rihanna: I thought people were gonna be surprised that we finally did a record together, but I didn’t see how people could think it was a bad thing, you know? In my mind, it was just music.
Esquire: Some people felt it sent the wrong message.
Rihanna: [Angrily] What was that? What message would that be?
Esquire: You’d gone back to someone who put you in the hospital.
Rihanna: [Getting angry] Oh really? Did I?
Esquire: Well… yes.
Rihanna: Did I? Did I? Did I?
Esquire: You went and recorded with him, yes.
Rihanna: Okay. In a completely professional environment. And on a complete professional note. I mean, if I went back to him [as a girlfriend], then that’s a whole different discussion. And if I ever do, then that’s something that y’all have to talk to me about when – if – that ever happens. Until then, look at it for what it is. I think a lot of people jumped to an assumption that was incorrect and they ended up looking stupid.
Esquire: The assumption you were dating again?
Rihanna: Because of a song. How stupid. If I was together with every collaborator I worked with… fuck my life.
Esquire: Still, the lyrics didn’t do much to dispel that impression. His opening line is “Girl I want to fuck you right now / Been a long time / I’ve been missing your body”. You reply: “Remember how you did it / If you still want to kiss it / Then come and get it”.
Rihanna: That was the tone before he was even on the record. You think it was going to be about hopscotch or jump rope?
Esquire: So neither of you for a minute thought “This is going to put the cat among the pigeons”?
Rihanna: I could never see anything wrong with making music.
Esquire: Maybe the thing is that as an artist your personal and private life are intertwined, and you’ve already played on this. The first song you put out after the beating incident was “Love the Way You Lie,” about domestic violence.
Rihanna: Absolutely. But “Love The Way You Lie” was me as an artist working with Eminem as an artist, telling our stories individually. On a track together. I’m lost. I’m confused as to what you’re trying to get at.
Esquire: That it’s hard to separate the person who’s been the victim of domestic violence and the pop star singing about domestic violence.
Rihanna: I know. And that’s how fucked up society is. There’s a lot of shit y’all can’t get over. Y’all holding your breath on a lot of stuff that doesn’t matter. When you realize who you live for, and who’s important to please, a lot of people will actually start living. I am never going to get caught up in that. I’m gonna look back on my life and say that I enjoyed it — and I lived it for me — and God. This is turning into a tacky interview. What do you really want to talk about? I’m not here to [talk] about messy shit.
Esquire: It’s just what’s been making the headlines recently.
Rihanna: OK! So do you want to talk about everything on Google? Or do you want to talk about stuff that my fans want to know? Let’s get to the real stuff. The stuff that’s important.
Esquire: What do your fans want to know?
Rihanna: You tell me, as a journalist. You’re asking the questions and I give you the answers. I can’t give the questions too.
Esquire: I’m sorry it’s upset you.
Rihanna: It hasn’t upset me. It upsets me that you keep asking the same kind of questions about stuff that’s trivial. What’s there to talk about? Are all your questions like that? Let’s move onto the next one.
Esquire: It’s just that you haven’t given an interview for a while. A lot has happened.
Rihanna: You think I haven’t given an interview for a while? I did four this morning.
Esquire: Did they go any better than this?
Rihanna: We’ll see [when they come out] tomorrow.
Honestly, we find it hard to believe that Rihanna is that naive, and that she would have no idea that reuniting with the man that violently attacked her — even just for two songs — wouldn’t, at the very least, raise a few eyebrows. Her curt response and pissed-off attitude comes off like she doesn’t believe her own explanations, since she continuously attempts to change the subject and refuses to understand why this is a conversation worth having that should not be labeled as “trivial”.
That said, we think we know how many effs Rihanna gives about our analysis of this interview. It’s a shame, though, because this is one subject where she really should care why people are so disappointed.
What are your thoughts on Rihanna’s comments? Is she in denial, or is it her right to not want to discuss her collaborations with Chris Brown? Let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.