On Tuesday, singer and business mogul Rihanna issued an apology for using a track that sampled the recitation of an Islamic hadith in her Savage X Fenty Vol. 2 fashion show. This came after Muslim made a series of posts on Instagram calling both her and the song’s artist out for the extreme oversight and lack of sensitivity.
The show, which premiered on Amazon Prime last week on October 2nd, was met with critical acclaim and praise for its inclusivity and incredible visuals. The hour long special included models, influencers, and celebrities of all genders, races, and body types. However, once reports began to circulate making people aware of the song’s usage during artist Rico Nasty’s scene, many Muslim fans took to social media to express their outrage. Rihanna responded shortly after with a post on her Instagram story, as well as a feed post on the Savage X Fenty account.
Below is the apology Rihanna posted on her main account:
I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our savage x fenty show. I would more importantly like to apologize to you for this honest, yet careless mistake. We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and i’m incredibly disheartened by this! I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of the song in our project was completely irresponsible! Moving forward we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding, Rih.
Although this isn’tthe first time Rihanna has tried it with Islam, she’s overall been a champion for diversity in both the fashion and beauty industries. Not to mention, she helped Halima Aden score one of her first modeling gigs in 2017, launching her career as a hijabi supermodel. Many fans were quick to forgive the singer thanks to her swift response and willingness to take accountability.
The hadith used in the track details Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) explanation of the signs of the day of judgement and the end of times. The song, ’Doom’ by Coucou Chloe, has since been removed from all streaming platforms following a separate apology from the London-based producer. She claimed to be unaware of the meaning of the sample she used – although the title of her track ‘doom’ seems too aligned with the end of times narrative of the hadith to truly have been a coincidence. And in any case, when using material from a foreign language or culture, surely it’s the artist’s responsibility to check how appropriate the appropriation is?
The recent news-breaking net worth of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos places him top of the list for the wealthiest people alive today – with many even calling him the wealthiest person ever. However, the media oftentimes forgets to mention a certain black individual in history whose wealth easily eclipses Bezos’s Mansa Musa, the 10th ruler of the Malian Empire.
After the Amazon CEO overtook Bill Gates in first position in 2018, his worth seemed to skyrocket at a baffling pace. But he is still way behind the African Muslim king who – according to many historians – is considered to be the richest man of all time.
“Even adjusting for inflation, Forbes believes Bezos’ fortune is the largest ever tracked,” writes Jonathan Ponciano on Forbes, declaring the 56-year-old to be the ‘first person ever worth $200 Billion.’
On the contrary, taking into account inflation over the centuries, Musa is recorded to have amassed at least $400-$415 billion, more than twice that of Bezos. Nonetheless, Musa’s contemporaries and some modern commentators, including Time’s Jacob Davidson, believe his wealth was simply incomprehensible. “Contemporary accounts of Musa’s wealth are so breathless that it’s almost impossible to get a sense of just how wealthy and powerful he truly was,” Rudolph Butch Ware, West African historian at the University of California, told BBC.
For a moment, forget about Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates or Dangote. This is Mansa Musa. According to Time Magazine and historians, he is the wealthiest person in human history.
Under Musa’s rule, the Mali empire stretched over several neighboring areas and became one of the most prosperous and largest African empires. The lands were laden with abundant natural resources – mostly gold and salt, which were also major contributors to the emperor’s wealth. In contrast to what it stands for today, he turned Mali into an advanced center of Islamic learning in the world.
Relatively unknown in the world outside Mali before his pilgrimage to Mecca, Musa made sure his journey went down in history like none other before. “He brought a caravan stretching as far as the eye could see,” says TED-Ed writer Jessica Smith. This 4,000 miles journey was eyewitnessed by numerous absolutely in admiration of his wealth as he distributed insane amounts of gold all along his route.
King Mansa Musa l of Mali wealthiest man in History. During his Haj to Makkah, he came with 60000 people, 80 camelsand 2 tonnes of gold. King and Sultans of the Muslim world did not say : "l'm rich " They said; Allah gave me this wealth to use gor Allahs purpose. pic.twitter.com/5Rdyo9OADU
As a result of Musa’s immense generosity on the city of Cairo, where he made a pause to meet the Sultan, the value of gold greatly deteriorated. In an attempt to even out the disruption, he bought it back from the people of the city – with the added inflation, becoming the only person to ever control the price of gold. A little hard to believe yet completely true.
Mansa Musa left more than just his money for the people to come, it was merely a small fraction of his rich legacy. He is a significant figure in black history, which is why the declaration of Jeff Bezos as the richest man ever came as a shock for several. People are still tweeting their disapproval of the situation, labeling it as an attempt to whitewash history.
Weren’t you the same institution that somehow labelled Jeff Bezos, a white man, the first person ever to have over $200 Billion when it was clearly Mansa Musa? While giving us tips on how to achieve racial justice, kindly do a better job in trying not to erase black history https://t.co/tl5wmHjxPY
Bezos is the only billionaire amassing $200 billion in the present day, that’s true. But he is in no way closer to the top billionaires of even the 20th century. Generations following Musa did not exactly maintain their status, however, this legendary king and his undeniable assets make him deserving of defending his crown of the wealthiest man ever. These figures and events from history should not be replaced with such ease.
The much awaited live action remake of Mulan has now become a sour topic of discussion as Disney fans across the world are angered since finding out the movie was partially filmed in the Xinjiang province—where it is reported that over 2,000,000 Uyghur Muslims have been detained in internment camps.
This comes after Disney’s CEO claimed filming in Georgia would be difficult due to its pro-life laws. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully,” he said.
This is not the first time the movie has stirred up chaos and received calls for boycott. Last year, the film’s lead actress Liu Yife, who plays Mulan, sparked controversy over her comments supporting the Hong Kong police’s treatment towards pro-democracy protestors and activists.
It appears that Disney did not just turn a blind eye to the atrocities that are taking place in Xinjiang – but rather actively cooperated with the authorities that are widely accused of crimes against humanity, with social media users highlighting the official thanks to eight Xinjiang government entities including The Xinjiang Public Security Bureau in the film credits – the bureau that is directly responsible for enforcing the harsh treatment and ethnic cleansing of Uyghur Muslims, such as inhumane torture, slave labor and forced sterilization of women.
Mulan specifically thank the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang uyghur autonomous region committee in the credits.
You know, the place where the cultural genocide is happening.
Isaac Stone-Fish of the Washington Post said “Why did Disney need to work in Xinjiang? It didn’t. There are plenty of other regions in China, and countries around the world, that offer the starkly beautiful mountain scenery present in the film. But in doing so, Disney helps normalize a crime against humanity.”
Visit our Carrd to learn more about what’s happening to Uyghur Muslims, donate to the cause and sign petitions to create change.