Rihanna gets culturally insensitive with a traditional Māori tattoo. Shocking!

Rihanna gets culturally insensitive with a traditional Māori tattoo. Shocking!

MusicOctober 10, 2013

We’re not sure why the world stops its direct trajectory every time singer Rihanna does something completely normal to us regular folk. In fact, it’s downright shocking that the media is so infatuated with her choices and even more so when each time she gets a new tattoo, the Google searches fill with photos and videos of her bare skin with new adornments.

And before we’re chastised for the contradictions, we fully understand the irony of Rooster adding the RiRi brand fuel to the media bonfire. But we’re down to whore ourselves out for organic clicks any way we can – it’s business people. Move along.

So when Rihanna finished her Australia / New Zealand area tour this last week, and commemorated the occasion with a traditional style tā moko tattoo, it was like nothing else in the world was happening. The video, posted by New Zealand local singer Tiki Taane, has come down with a serious viral infection. It’s everywhere. And here are a few things wrong with it:

1. Rihanna was born in Saint Michael, Barbados – making her Barbadian. She’s not indigenous to New Zealand. She’s not Māori. The tā moko tattoo is considered sacred to the Māori and misappropriation of it is seen as a seriously fucked up thing to do. Only persons of high social status or those who have gone through many rites and rituals are allowed to adorn the traditional markings. And even though Rihanna has made it habit of it, pissing off fans because she’s a spoiled diva doesn’t count as ritual.

2.  It’s not the biggest issue in the world, but savvy artists have noticed some missteps in the artists approach to sanitation. At no point should Rihanna, ungloved, handle the towel and wipe her own wound. Not only that, but the happy-rag is passed around like Thanksgiving gravy, and the spray bottle being handled isn’t fully wrapped in plastic. We’re not saying she got the Hep, but shops need to be cognizant of their techniques and even more so when millions of people are watching.

But we will say, that hand tattoos suuuuuck. And the tap method suuuuuucks even more. She took it like a champ even though it’s terribly insensitive to the culture. The religious pandering does fit with her theme though, as she’s said in the past:

My tattoos are all spiritual and show how I feel about religion. I have a falcon, which is an Egyptian falcon, and is supposed to stand for God.

Huh.