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Rihanna Says Money Doesn’t Motivate Her Hustle

Rihanna

Ever since I was little, I've had beef with money. In my mind, if money was truly the root of all evil, it made no sense that it was the central focus of attention for everyone around me. I saw the adults in my life fight and end relationships over financial difficulty, but on the other hand, an influx in wealth would also be the only thing that would bring us all together. As I grew older, my disdain for currency evolved into dependency, and I realized the true meaning of the African-American proverb: cash rules everything around me.

The grind will grind you to death if you don't check yourself, and every rich person I've ever met will tell you that when they started, money was never the motive. Rihanna is a testament to this fact, and in a recent interview with The New York Times' T Magazine, she reminded us all that when you do the work, the money will come.

Rihanna recently made history as the first Black woman to create an original brand with the world's largest luxury brand and in her latest feature, she dropped the details about the highly anticipated clothing and accessory line. Along with a pair of $670 calfskin shoes, Rihanna debuted a Swarovski crystal-studded brass ear cuff, and a few high-fashion suit jackets that will have you feeling like a bag of money; after all, the line was inspired by Queen Rih herself, who is exactly that.

Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

This February, it was reported that the Fenty creator's net worth is estimated at $260 million, and thanks to her collaboration with this billion-dollar industry giant, it can only go up from here. But let Rihanna tell it, the numbers don't really matter because she was never doing it for the money. She told T Magazine:

"I never thought I'd make this much money, so a number is not going to stop me from working. I'm not being driven by money right now."

Don't get it twisted, Rih is still the "BBHMM" badass that we've grown to know and love, and please know that she still needs her check on time; but she explained that money has never been her sole source of motivation for going hard:

"Money is happening along the way, but I'm working out of what I love to do, what I'm passionate about. Work will change when my life changes in the future but an amount of money is not going to stop that."

For Rihanna, money is less of a luxury and more of a resource that she can use to help the people around her and maybe even a baby Bajan prince or princess in the future:

"The money means that I can take care of my family. The money means that I can facilitate the businesses that I want to. I can create jobs for other people. My money is not for me; it's always the thought that I can help someone else or, in the future, for if I have kids."

Money doesn't equal happiness, and Rihanna wants us all to do ourselves a favor and level up our way of thinking. According to Rih, that process of unlearning starts with redefining your priorities:

"The world can really make you believe that the wrong things are priority, and it makes you really miss the core of life, what it means to be alive."
"It could literally be walking outside in the sun. That makes me happy. Like going to the grocery store — you know, there's a cute little Jamaican market near where I live right now."

If you're as cynical as I am, I know what you're thinking. Only people with money say that money doesn't matter. But damn, don't you think that's a funny coincidence? It just so happens that most rich people were never in it for the money? Oprah literally gave away cars to people who supported her show. Beyonce reportedly walked out of a million-dollar deal with Reebok because there weren't enough black people in the room. Robert F. Smith just gave away millions to a bunch of college graduates from Morehouse.

From the studies shown above, it appears rich people aren't half as worried about the numbers as people like me, who are struggling to make ends meet. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that every person in the world who has ever worked hard and pursued their passion has automatically become a millionaire, but Rihanna did. Why can't you?

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Being rich is much different than accumulating wealth and Rihanna just gave us the blueprint on exactly how to build a $260 million empire: just do the work. You may not run a billion-dollar fashion house in Paris, but do what you can with what's in your account right now. Stop worrying about the numbers, and live life like Rihanna. If you do what you love, the money will come.

Read the full interview here!

Featured image by Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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