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Rihanna Dishes On Her And A$AP Rocky’s Journey To Love

“People don’t get out of the friend zone very easily with me."

Rihanna

Rihanna is finally opening up about her relationship with A$AP Rocky. The couple has been friends for years, but reportedly sparked a romance in 2020 and now they are having their first child together. The Harlem rapper gushed about their relationship in a past interview with GQ where he called the “Needed Me” singer “the one.” “So much better when you got the One,” he said. “She amounts to probably, like, a million of the other ones. I think when you know, you know. She's the One.”


RiRi has remained relatively silent about their love until now. The singer covered the May 2022 issue of Vogue where she dished on becoming a mother and what made her fall for Rocky.

“People don’t get out of the friend zone very easily with me,” she said. “And I certainly took a while to get over how much I know him and how much he knows me because we also know how much trouble we can land each other in.” As mentioned before, the couple has been friends for many years. They collaborated on the “Cockiness (Love It)” remix in 2012 and she was his muse in his 2013 “Fashion Killa” music video.

Rihanna recalled the moment they performed the “Cockiness (Love It)” remix at the 2012 VMAs, in which her manager noticed there may have been some chemistry then. “He grabbed my ass on stage. That was not part of the rehearsal!” she said. “I was like, Whatare you doing!? My manager was like, Oh, God, she must like this guy a little bit. She never lets this shit slide.”

Fast-forward to summer 2020, when the couple took a road trip from Los Angeles to New York together. They were cooped up in a tour bus and stayed out of the public eye. The Barbadian beauty would cook on a “little janky grill I bought from Walmart” and Rocky would tie-dye T-shirts he bought from the major retailer. “I love the simple things but also the grand adventures,” she said. “There’s no pretentious my-brand-your-brand bullshit, it’s just us living. I just feel like I can do any part of life by his side.”

Then the holiday season came and fans saw paparazzi photos of the couple spending time in Rihanna’s home country of Barbados. However, it wasn’t exactly what we thought. The mom-to-be shared that Rocky also has a connection to her home country. The “Peso” rapper’s father is also from Barbados. She said it was “heartwarming” to watch her beau envision his dad as a boy and walk the same streets that his father walked.

During their time on the beautiful island, Rocky was also able to win over Rihanna’s mother. “My mother has a really good read on people. She observes first and then she’ll move slowly,” she said. “I guess I’m like that too. There are some guys that I’ve dated that she won’t even look at to this day. But she was charmed by him from the jump.”

And while she would love to raise their child in Barbados, she knows that it’s not realistic with being who they are and so they are still figuring out where to live.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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