When Rihanna isn’t selling out her beauty and clothing brands, or inspiring viral memes, she’s using her platform to highlight the world’s most pressing social issues.
The superstar shared a CNN article about the escalation of a months-long protest staged by Indian farmers in New Delhi in a now widely shared tweet on Tuesday. “Why aren’t we talking about this?” she asked, adding the hashtag #FarmersProtest.
Rihanna’s post received backlash from pro-government supporters while other Indians applauded her for highlighting the situation.
Also shared by Greta Thunberg, the CNN article reported that the Indian government has blocked the internet in several districts surrounding the New Delhi area after protesters and police clashed over the weekend. Critics have called the shutdown “undemocratic.”
Indian farmers started demonstrating after three agricultural laws passed in September that they view as a threat to their livelihoods. The laws loosen restrictions on crop selling and farmers believe they could industrialize the agricultural sector and result in corporations taking advantage of them.
why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtesthttps://t.co/obmIlXhK9S— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
Rihanna’s post was just one of many ways the singer has given back over the years.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Global Ambassador hasn't been shy about using her platform to call on world leaders to help bring education to underserved communities around the world. Since 2017, she's joined Global Citizen's campaigns and tweeted at the leaders of the UK, France, Australia, Norway, Canada, Argentina, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, and Germany, urging them to step up their governments' support for GPE, which works to ensure every child in the world has access to a fair, high-quality education.
Working alongside Global Citizens, Rihanna's campaigning efforts not only got world leaders to respond and increase their funding, but also helped get Germany to double its contribution to GPE — twice.
She's also the education ambassador of her home country Barbados and donated $5 million to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to shining a light on the farmer protests in India this week, here are four other social movements Rihanna has recently shown support for and helped spread awareness on to her more than 100 million Twitter followers.
1. Myanmar Unity During the Military Coup
The Myanmar military arrested President Win Myint, leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and activists, and then declared a one-year state of emergency in the city of Naypyidaw on Monday. Following the overwhelming victory of the National League for Democracy party in the November national elections, the military claimed unfounded election fraud and voting irregularities.
Rihanna tweeted a post in solidarity with the people of Myanmar on Tuesday. “My prayers are with you #myanmar!” she wrote.
The star retweeted a post from the organization Human Rights Watch calling for the international community to unite to demand that the Myanmar military accept the results of the recent election and relinquish power.
my prayers are with you #myanmar! https://t.co/GMYqA5BHM8— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
The #EndSARS hashtag first went viral in 2017 calling to dissolve Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for carrying out violence against citizens without any consequences. Following new evidence of a brutal violent attack on Oct. 8, 2020, the online protest moved to the streets, and cities outside the country marched in solidarity.
A week later, on Oct. 20, 2020, Rihanna tweeted a photo of a protester holding a bloody Nigerian flag. “It’s such a betrayal to the citizen, the very people put in place to protect are the ones we are most afraid of being murdered by!” she wrote.
Rihanna also shared words of encouragement for protesters.
“I’m so proud of your strength and not letting up on the fight for what’s right! #ENDSARS,” she added.
#ENDSARS 🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/59lrs8JnDA— Rihanna (@rihanna) October 20, 2020
3. Black Lives Matter
The murder of George Floyd — a Black man murdered by a white police officer on camera in May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota — sparked a global uprising against racial injustice. Floyd’s death increased support for the Black Lives Matter movement, initially launched in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who shot unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin.
Rihanna shared a photo of Floyd on May 29, 2020: “If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for ‘drugs’ or ‘resisting arrest’....then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???! #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor,” she wrote.
Rihanna included hashtags for the names of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, two other Black Americans who were murdered in 2020.
If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”....then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???! #GeorgeFloyd#AhmaudArbery#BreonnaTaylorpic.twitter.com/iK9SYkaAGb— Rihanna (@rihanna) May 30, 2020
A few months later, Rihanna reshared a petition by the racial justice organization Color of Change calling for the cops who shot Taylor to be held accountable.
We won't stop saying #BreonnaTaylor's name. Our current justice & policing system has failed. By refusing to hold her killers accountable, @kyoag + @louisvillemayor have failed Louisville. It's time the City Council divests from the LMPD! #SayHerName. https://t.co/JSoNmPjqg6pic.twitter.com/Dqrmf6eoM0— ColorOfChange (@ColorOfChange) September 24, 2020
4. Sudanese Revolution
Civil unrest erupted in Sudan in June 2019 following military crackdowns on pro-democracy protests. Protesters who rallied to stand up against President Omar al-Bashir’s oppressive rule were met with violence from police.
Rihanna showed solidarity for Sudanese protesters on June 30, 2019, in a Twitter thread. “They have a right to speak out and demand peace, justice, and a transition to civilian rule,” she wrote in the first tweet. The star pointed out the violence that had occurred at previous protests and called for peace.
“Praying for no more killings or abuse today,” she wrote with a photo of protestors. “Fight for human rights in #Africa and stand with protesters in #Sudan. #BlueforSudan #IAmSudaneseRevolution #Watch_Sudan_on_June30th.”
With more protests planned for today, June 30, I send my ❤️ and I pray for the safety of the Sudanese people. They have a right to speak out and demand peace, justice and a transition to civilian rule. Over 100 were killed & hundreds more were wounded during the June 3rd protests pic.twitter.com/2T8YudGxIx— Rihanna (@rihanna) June 30, 2019