The Rihanna Raunch Effect: What Will Happen When The Shock Value Wears Off?

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Once Rihanna told the world to suck her cockiness and lick her persuasion, did we really think there was ever any going back to the days of simply letting boys under her umbrella-ella-ella? 

I sure didn’t. 

But on the same token, I never thought I would meet the day when seeing Rihanna’s cake on the cover of a magazine would be coupled with zero shock value. 

When Rihanna hit the market back in 2005 singing songs of music under the sun, no one, actually perhaps only Jay-Z, could imagine that Rihanna would grow into the colossal superstar that she is today. Seven albums, an innumerable amount of magazine covers and a social media platform bigger than any other star in the world…but Rihanna is still playing off of shock value. Nude photos, “drug” (Mary Jane) use, and a bad relationship that just won’t die are the things that get Rihanna headlines. 

Rihanna is one of the baddest women in the game. We have seen her nudies, have stood by as she made very public displays about a very private relationship, and even watched with empathy as she cried to Oprah about her life lessons, but when well it get to the point that Rihanna’s antics no longer possess shock value? 

I understand the concept of image, and selling sex, yes, I understand the Madonnas and the Lady Gagas of the industry, but does anything either of them do ever really shock anyone anymore? 

Honestly, the answer for those of us immersed in pop culture is no, but the question that still begs is, what will happen when we have seen it all from RiRi?

What will come when the dust settles and there is no more CB drama, and Rihanna is the married mother of two … will fans of the “badgalriri” still remain?

Rihanna as an artist has it all: the talent, the looks, and the formula for longevity, and while I undoubtedly enjoy seeing photos of Rihanna in nothing but her tattoos, a part of me longs for the beauty to tap into talents beyond her scope, a part of me wants her to be remembered for much more than the sex symbol of our times.

I can recall a time back in May when rumors that Hugh Hef was tapping the songstress for a Playboy cover began to circulate, and the resounding response was, “Yawn, we have already seen it all.”

That is the sound of shock value fading. 

A part of me, which is probably not the same part that sings along to “Cake,” wants to see more high-fashion Rih, and less butt cheeks Rih. 

But this could just be my wishful thinking out loud. 

-Rachel Hislop 

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