Last night, in a crowded room full of stans and press alike, Rihanna unveiled the cover art for her highly anticipated eighth studio album.
The same Rihanna that chopped her accountant up and lazily basked in a trunk covered in blood in “Bitch Better Have My Money” decided that it was time for us to see her vision. Did we really expect her to drop a basic album cover on Instagram with everything we’ve seen before?
I hope you didn’t.
In collaboration with Israeli artist Roy Nachum, whose claim to fame is painting subjects whose “vision is obscured,” Rihanna unveiled the cover for ‘ANTI’ no, R8 is no longer. According to Nacum’s site, a crown obscuring the vision of a child is a metaphor of a [wo]man blinded by her displaced values and desires. “Sometimes the ones who have sight are the blindest,” says Rih Rih.
Since the blind fail to see, don’t worry, Nachum and poet Chloe Mitchell explain it to you in the Braille poem “If They Let Us,” which is said to be featured in the studio album packaging:
I sometimes fear that I am misunderstood.
It is simply because what I want to say, what I need to stay, won’t be heard.
Heard in a way I so rightfully deserve.
What I choose to say is of so much substance
That people just won’t understand the depth of my message.
So my voice is not my weakness, it is the opposite of what others are afraid of.
My voice is my suit and armor, my shield, and all that I am.
I will comfortably breath in it, until I find the moment to be silent.
I live loudly in my mind, so many hours of the day.
The world is pin drop sound compared to the boom that thumps and bumps against the walls of my cranium.
I live it and love it and despise it and I am entrapped in it.
So being misunderstood, I am not offended by the gesture, but honored.
If they let us…
The irony comes in the form of Ri’s much-discussed article with Vanity Fair in which she speaks candidly about being misunderstood:
I honestly think how much fun it would be to live my reputation. People have this image of how wild and crazy I am, and I’m not everything they think of me. The reality is that the fame, the rumors—this picture means this, another picture means that—it really freaks me out. It made me back away from even wanting to attempt to date. It’s become second nature for me to just close that door and just be O.K. with that. I’m always concerned about whether people have good or bad intentions.
She tells the press, “This is my favorite album cover I’ve ever done.” And we can see why.
Are you ready for Rihanna’s new album?