On February 2nd, Rihanna tweeted a single sentence bringing attention to the Indian farmers’ protests, which, much like anything Rihanna does, caused an instant stir among the public. With her tweet, the singer and business mogul aimed to raise awareness about the continuous protests of Indian farmers against three farming acts signed by the Indian government in September 2020. The demonstrations had primarily emerged in June 2020 and escalated in November 2020 when peaceful protests began at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border.
Since then, Rihanna has received a significant amount of backlash, even from the Indian government. The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears to have taken the situation quite seriously, as it has issued a statement condemning the involvement of “foreign individuals and entities” in the farmers’ protests. In addition to being accused of speaking up about something she knows little about, right-wing trolls have also reportedly flooded Rihanna’s mentions commending Chris Brown for his past physical abuse of the singer. Indian actress Kangana Ranaut made a series of tweets denigrating Rihanna and calling her a porn star.
Rihanna has not yet responded to this misogynistic verbal abuse. She is not the only non-Indian famous person to speak up about the protests, as climate activist Greta Thunberg also expressed her support of the farmers.
Nonetheless, Rihanna’s tweet did its job as a conversation about the protests that have picked up significantly. For anyone interested in the largest peaceful protest in the history of the world, a few explainers and news primers are available online. If those seem too long, there is always a Tik Tok video that does a simplified breakdown to turn to.
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