Barbados-born international pop star Rihanna has debuted the cover of her upcoming album and its name.
As a video of the event revealed, the artwork was done by Roy Nachum, a New York-based Israeli artist. It features an image of Rihanna at about age 3 or 4 wearing a gold crown – not on her head but down covering her eyes and holding onto the string of a black balloon. The entire cover is red and white so that half of her body is painted red and half white. Almost all of the canvas is covered in Braille, which is the translation of a poem by Chloe Mitchell; yes the same Chloe Mitchell, whose work featured in Kanye West’s “Blame Game”.
Rihanna told her screaming adoring ‘peeps’ that the poem, “If They Let Us” will be in the album packaging when it is released, along with poetry by Nachum.
She then revealed that the poem was written for and about her by Mitchell after the three of them held a collaborative session some time ago; with Mitchell putting into words things she could not and Nachum replicating her message in art. She said he had asked for photos of her and the one that was eventually used was taken on her first day at kindergarten and it was one she and her mother had always really liked.
And the only explanation she gave for the thought-provoking artwork with its crown-covered eyes and braille was: “Sometimes the ones who have sight are the blindest.”
Part of “If They Let Us” reads:
I sometimes fear that I am misunderstood.
It is simply because what I want to say,
what I need to say, 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 armour,
My shield, and all that I am.
I will comfortably breathe 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 a 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 honoured.
If they let us…
Although she mentioned working in the studio until 4 am, Rihanna did not give a release date for ‘ANTI’, preferring to let the anticipation build. Of course, every snoop entertainment reporter will be trying to get the scoop on the date as well as what songs will be on the album.
Expectations are that “FourFiveSeconds”, “B$&*# Better Have My Money” and “American Oxygen”, Rihanna’s latest trio of singles will be on ‘ANTI’. She also has two others, “Dancing in the Dark” and “Towards the Sun” from the animated 2015 movie Home, in which she also voiced one of the lead characters. But the question is, has she followed in Kanye’s footsteps and put Mitchell’s poetry not just on the album, but in it?
Rihanna’s work is usually highly anticipated, and this latest offering will be no different. The singer, dropping huge hints at the unveiling, said that the album cover was the one she loved best to date. Will this, her eighth album, be her best yet? Keep listening…