Singer Rihanna has launched a scathing attack on US President Donald Trump’s refusal to address gun violence, suggesting he may be “the most mentally ill human being in America”.
The 31-year-old singer, whose ninth album is rumoured to be close to completion, seized on comments Trump made in the aftermath of mass shootings this summer in El Paso, Texas, and in Dayton, Ohio, reported Indepedent.
In both cases, a young white man, armed with a semi-automatic weapon, attacked innocent people in a two-day period of killings that left more than 30 dead, and triggered another conversation about gun violence.
The US president described the shootings as a tragedy, but also commented, “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger — not the gun.” In the case of the El Paso shooter, at least, it is alleged racist bigotry that inspired the attack.
“Um… Donald, you spelt ‘terrorism’ wrong! Your country had 2 terrorist attacks back to back hours apart leaving almost 30 innocent people dead," the Diamonds hit maker wrote on social media.
#EndGunViolence: Hollywood celebrities demand gun control in America
In an interview with Vogue magazine, the singer picked up on the theme she raised this summer. “It is devastating. People are being murdered by war weapons that they legally purchase. This is just not normal. That should never, ever be normal,” said the Grammy winner.
“And the fact that it’s classified as something different because of the colour of their skin? It’s a slap in the face. It’s completely racist.”
She added, “Put an Arab man with that same weapon in that same Walmart and there is no way that Trump would sit there and address it publicly as a mental health problem. The most mentally ill human being in America right now seems to be the president.”
However, there has been serious backlash over the Vogue journalist who conducted the interview, Abby Aguirre. She admitted in her profile of the prolific musician that she found out she was doing the interview last-minute, and as such, "didn't have time to prepare" a list of questions for Rihanna.
Many have taken to Twitter accusing the journalist of white privilege. "Privilege is being able to show up to an interview w/ one of the world's biggest stars w/ no questions written, admit it to said star, WRITE IT in the story, and the editor letting the line go to print b/c no1 is concerned it will make anyone question your ability to do your job," one user wrote.
Privilege is being able to show up to an interview w/ one of the world's biggest stars w/ no questions written, admit it to said star, WRITE IT in the story, and the editor letting the line go to print b/c no1 is concerned it will make anyone question your ability to do your job. https://t.co/bvSLR93X2L— Sylvia (@SylviaObell) October 9, 2019
The general consensus seemed to be that a writer of color wouldn't have relied on racial "privilege" to pull off the interview, and would've been better prepared as a result.
“Normally I bring a list of questions, but I didn’t have time to prepare one, which I make a split-second decision to confess. ‘I’m winging it, so you have to help me,’ I say...”— 💫 Ⓢⓗⓐⓝⓞⓝⓛⓔⓔ (She/Her)💫 (@whoisshanonlee) October 9, 2019
Sorry, but I just can’t see a Black woman writer being so cavalier. I— https://t.co/qdu074h9vG
The caucacity.— FatBlackDiva (@FatBlackDiva) October 10, 2019
I’ve been thinking about this all day. The utter GALL! A black journalist would’ve been fired, let alone ever been granted a cover story ever again. Baffled isn’t even enough to describe how I feel about this.— mya abraham. (@myabriabe) October 9, 2019
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