Rihanna was always a phenomenon that gave me the feeling of comfort. I rarely thought of her as a person, more like a movement. A project, an experiment, that somehow worked.

She was short-fused, direct, some would say rude, but honestly, that word is just an excuse for people with insecurities not being able to handle straightforward talk. I hate that word. People opposite of the word rude are rude to me. Those who can’t communicate, those who don’t have any empathy; guess what, your indifference, silence, and lack of engagement are rude to me.

Rihanna is assertive. Dominating. She’s a punk at heart who can’t seem to give few fucks. I’m very familiar with those traits. Too familiar. And it held me back in life. It held me back in my career. Men standing at the bridge I have to pass to get at the next level of the video game, often, if not 95% of the time did not let me pass. I didn’t stroke their feathers just as long as I’d pass the level. I’m not agreeable, I don’t play games, I’m intense. And women should not be all of those things if you want to pass the level of the video game called life (read: you should be all of those things).

Rihanna fascinated me. She was all that, yet she passed level after level after level. Was she already too known and too valuable to mess with, was she already so profitable that men around her, men on positions “allowed” her to not be agreeable, because she was valuable (read: profitable)? Possible. But also, what comes first, chicken or the egg? At this point where we’re all aware of her talent, power – she WAS too valuable. But before we knew the Rihanna of today, when she was just a talented singer climbing up toward this moment of world domination and value, was she the same assertive, no-nonsense force of nature, that patriarchy hates? To manage to achieve the success she did, being what she is; how did she pass all her levels?

Maybe you never thought about this, but think about it now. Rihanna is not an American sweetheart. One would argue, she’s the polar opposite. Her secret fascinates me. The male-dominated society likes to punish women like Rihanna by not granting them the next level. Yes, fame, success, wealth – they’ll “allow” you to have that, but the total and utter power? World domination? There’s nothing that is more feared than the woman with the reach and power.

Her domination with her beauty line didn’t surprise me. People who are called rude are usually the total opposite of rude but called upon that by those who can’t handle honest, direct talk. People who are called rude are usually the most empathetic people. It totally makes sense Rihanna was the person sensitive to the exclusion of the beauty industry; so much so she created a beauty brand with the premises of inclusiveness. Fenty Beauty is a true champion at its game. Her creativity knows no limits. If she never did anything else in her career or recorded another song, she already did a great deal for the culture.

But I was surprised last week when her collaboration with the French luxury giant LVMH was announced. Not surprised at her talent; this woman is just naturally in-tuned with a great many areas of artistic expression, I was surprised with what she managed to achieve here.

As a woman, as a designer, it’s is epically hard to have control over your brand, while also navigating investment while having artistic freedom. Rihanna is a celebrity of the highest caliber, yes, but to manage to do a specific deal she managed is just mindblowing. Celebrities often lend the name to some sort of brand; it’s the easiest constant flow of the money, without doing too much work. Rihanna didn’t opt for that easy route.

What she did is partner up with LVMH, the company that owns the world’s most high-end luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Bulgary, Sephora, and so on; to create FENTY, the first high-end luxury fashion brand that LVMH launched from scratch, since Christian Lacroix, the first woman to start the original brand for LVMH and the first woman of color to do so. With no artistic limits. I don’t know how much you know about the business of fashion, but that right there is – the success of unexplainable proportions.

But, not even all of that is the real gem in the story. This next part is absolutely brilliant. Rihanna is a 49.99 % shareholder in the deal. While the LVMH invested 30 million Euros in the deal, Rihanna, get this, invested 30 million Euros of “worth of her time” contributions to the deal. Not lend her name. Not invested money so someone designs something in her name, Rihanna invested 30 million worth of her time. WORTH OF HER TIME. She monetized her time and her reputation to the value of 30 million, she did not throw in any actual cash because SHE IS CASH.

And in the words of Lainey Gossip:

“What I’m excited about is that we don’t often hear the figures laid out like this, particularly where women are concerned. Women’s value is usually measured in feelings, which don’t pay for things. Women don’t often tell us what their value is as measured by a number next to a dollar sign because, of course, we’ve been conditioned to place more value on our feelings which has been a way to keep us away from the f-cking money. 

Rihanna has feelings for sure. She’s just made sure to tell us that her feelings are worth something. Lots of things. Lots of money things. Her feelings, her ideas, her WORK is now worth turning her name into a brand new high end fashion label!”

There hasn’t been a more boss ass move than this boss move in I don’t know how long and this woman did all that, this woman of color did all that in a luxury market dominated with European men, with this much creative control. She did all that by being unapologetically her, not an agreeable woman who will take direction and make money for rich white men, but a woman who is as powerful as they are, a powerhouse equal to their own luxury house. Or maybe even more? After all, they needed to invest 30 million of real money, while she had to invest 30 million of her time, reputation & feelings. Jab? Had to!

All hail, Rihanna. A God of many things.

Also, how stunning is the Fenty maze logo? Exceptional graphic work.