As more reports come out about the U.S. government's disturbing treatment of immigrants, an increasing number of people in positions of power are choosing to speak out about the issue — including Rihanna. In an interview with the Root held after the BET Awards on Sunday, June 23, Rihanna gave her thoughts on the immigration crisis currently taking place in America, and revealed what she thinks needs to be done about it.
"In any situation as devastating as what is happening in America right now with immigrants, you have to be as loud as you can and raise as much awareness,” Rihanna told the outlet. "Not just that, but as a whole, as a nation, just put all your heads together. Put your voices together."
"Be as loud as possible," she continued. "Because that's the only way that politicians and governments actually listen — when they feel like the country is concerned as the issue is concerning."
The singer's advice has merit; outrage can have an effect, especially when coming from a large number of people. Just look at how, after several days of intense backlash from the public, immigration authorities announced that they were moving some of the children being held in an overcrowded, filthy Texas detention center to other facilities. While that action isn't a guarantee that the children will be held in better conditions, it does indicate that the government can and will respond to significant public concerns.
America's ongoing immigration crisis has outraged countless people, but it's clear why Rihanna, in particular, is speaking out. In a recent interview with The Cut, the star explained that she takes pride in the word "immigrant," because she is one, having moved to the U.S. from Barbados back in 2005.
“For me, it’s a prideful word,” Rihanna told the publication. “To know that you can come from humble beginnings and just take over whatever you want to, dominate at whatever you put your mind to. The world becomes your oyster, and there’s no limit."
She added that she wants the people who love her to extend that love to the countless other immigrants around the world. “Wherever I go, besides Barbados, I am an immigrant,” Rihanna said. “But I think it’s important for people to remember, if you love me, everyone out here is just like me. A million Rihannas out there, getting treated like dirt.”
Following the interview with The Cut, Rihanna posted a photo featuring her posing alongside several other prominent immigrant women, including actor Dascha Polanco. The group held up a shirt from the singer's new Fenty clothing line, emblazoned with the word "immigrant." Rihanna's caption for the post was simply: "hey @realdonaldtrump."
It's great to see someone as powerful as Rihanna standing up to Trump and his administration's policies, which, as she said during her Root interview, are truly devastating. As the president tweets terrifying and unclear messages about mass deportations and ICE raids, thousands of asylum seekers — including babies and children — are suffering in facilities ill-equipped in every way. It is about as devastating as devastating can get.
But you don't have to stay silent. Take Rihanna's advice: stay angry, be loud, donate to places that help immigrant children, and get organized.