Rihanna has come out in defense of Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP Spokane Chapter President who claimed that she was black even though both her parents are white.
“I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit,” Rihanna told Vanity Fair in an interview for her November 2015 cover story. “Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) October 6, 2015
Rachel Dolezal’s parents publicly came forward in June to expose their daughter’s fabrication about her identity. They provided news outlets with pictures of Rachel Dolezal before she started identifying as black to confirm their story.
In response, Rachel Dolezal told media outlets like NBC News that she had always identified as black and used to color pictures of herself with the brown crayon instead of the peach one when she was a child.
Her parents stated, however, that this was a lie.
“That didn’t happen,” said Ruthanne Dolezal, Rachel’s mother. “It’s disappointing to see that Rachel is still making false statements… I was hoping to see a change.”
Amidst the media scrutiny that erupted after she was outed as a white woman, Rachel Dolezal resigned from her position as the president of the NAACP’s Spokane Chapter. Dolezal also lost her position as an African studies instructor at Washington University and was under investigation over whether she lied about her race to get position on the police oversight board.
“Nothing about being white describes who I am,” Dolezal told Savannah Guthrie at NBC News. “The closest thing that I can come to is if — if you’re black or white, I’m black. I’m more black than I am white.”
However, Dolezal once sued Howard University (a historically black college) for discrimination, claiming that she was unfairly treated because she was a white woman. According to documents obtained by the Smoking Gun, Rachel Dolezal filed the lawsuit against Howard in 2002, citing that she had been passed over for a scholarship and a teaching position because she was white. At the time, Dolezal went by the name of Rachel Moore. A judge dismissed her lawsuit in 2004, stating he found no evidence that Rachel Dolezal was discriminated against.
For Vanity Fair, Rihanna also talked about her former relationship with Chris Brown and discussed why she rekindled their relationship after Brown assaulted her in 2009.
“I was that girl,” Rihanna told Vanity Fair. “That girl who felt that as much pain as this relationship is, maybe some people are built stronger than others. Maybe I’m one of those people built to handle s**t like this.”
When asked if she thought she could change Chris Brown, Rihanna says yes.
“I felt that people didn’t understand him,” the “Pour it Up” singer said. “Even after … But you know, you realize after a while that in that situation you’re the enemy. You want the best for them, but if you remind them of their failures… or even if you say I’m willing to put up with something, they think less of you—because they know you don’t deserve what they’re going to give.”
Before 2009, Rihanna and Chris Brown were in a relationship that many fans thought was perfect. That facade crumbled after Chris assaulted Rihanna on their way back from a Grammy party that year. The incident helped to stir up a national conversation around domestic violence and its prevalence among young people. Rihanna faced a lot of backlash when she decided to get back together with Chris in 2012. Chris Brown was also in a relationship with Karrueche Tran at the time. Rihanna and Chris even collaborated on songs like her “Birthday Cake” remix and Brown’s “Put It Up.”
Even though Rihanna and Chris Brown have been through a lot, Rihanna insists that she doesn’t bear any ill will towards him.
“I don’t hate him. I will care about him until the day I die. We’re not friends, but it’s not like we’re enemies. We don’t have much of a relationship now.”
Fans will be able to read the entire Rihanna Vanity Fair interview when the November 2015 issues hits newsstands.
[Photo of Rihanna by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment, Photo of Rachel Dolezal via Today.com video screen shot]