As she prepares for the release of her new album Unapologetic, Rihanna sat down with GQ to talk about her music, her image, and of course, Chris Brown. With less than a week left before Unapologetic’s November 19 street date Rihanna has stayed at the stop of headlines, but her GQ cover story provides one of the star’s most candid interviews since she spoke with Oprah back in August.
“Sometimes a person looks at me and sees dollars. They see numbers and they see a product. I look at me and see art. If I didn’t like what I was doing, then I would say I was committing slavery,” she told GQ’s Jay Bulger. Rihanna’s barely covered pose on the magazine’s cover reflects her status as one of the world’s most desirable women, an image that she grew into naturally.
“That comes from my culture. That’s just the way it’s always been, and I think that for people, especially in America, they make it like the forbidden fruit, but that only makes kids more curious….I was a lot more naive about the way I moved and the way I was being perceived,” she said. “The more you hear people talk about ‘Oh, you’re a sex symbol,’ it just makes you think, ‘Why are you saying that?’ And I figured it out.”
The GQ article describes Rihanna as the “Obsession of the Year,” referring to the non-stop clamor for the artist, and the brawl between her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown and Drake allegedly over her. Rihanna maintained that “there’s no proof of that being for my love,” with Chris Brown nearby during the October interview. Bulger commented on the playful interactions between Brown and Rihanna, during a time when their relationship was largely hidden from the public eye.
“Chris Brown brashly stands on top of his bench in the neighboring booth. He and Rihanna start tossing flirtatious glances like kids passing notes in middle-school math class,” Bulger noted. “The smirks and the playfulness continue until they’re dancing with each other from afar. Then, out of mock frustration, Brown climbs over the top of the booth. A mischievous tingle of controversy vibrates through the club.”