Beyoncé Vs. Rihanna: Who Is This Generation’s Biggest Pop Icon?

For the past ten years, Beyoncé and Rihanna have experienced extreme ups and some usual career downs. However, they have both remained two of the biggest selling acts in music. With Rihanna scoring eight weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 with her current hit “Work” and the world preparing for Beyoncé’s upcoming Formation World Tour, both are making news everywhere.

Rihanna 'Anti'
Rihanna faced a lot of backlash before the hit album ‘Anti’ was released. [Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images]
Rihanna faced a backlash prior to the release of her album Anti. In 2015, she released single after single and the only one that even made waves was “FourFiveSeconds,” but many people said the success of that single relied on Paul McCartney and Kanye West. Her next singles, “American Oxygen” and “B***h Better Have My Money,” underperformed. Rihanna tried to increase her fortunes by releasing a video for the latter single, but it caused a lot of controversy.

Sarah Vine of the Daily Mail was just one of the critics of Rihanna’s controversial video.

“This video contains, in no particular order, extreme violence, torture, drug-taking, guns, negative racial stereotyping (towards both black and white), sexual exploitation and murder. Actually, sorry: not just contains, but also glorifies and justifies.”

The rest of the year saw Rihanna’s Anti album constantly delayed. By the time it was released, several sources, including NME, said the album was a flop. However, it debuted at No. 1 and has stayed in the top 6 for almost three months. The fact that Rihanna currently has one of the longest-running No. 1 hits in years shows she’s anything but fading.

Since 2013, everything has been coming up Beyoncé. Her self-titled surprise album changed the record industry in 2013. Her 2016 Super Bowl performance caused controversy, but overshadowed other performers that day, including Bruno Mars and Coldplay. Then, as Billboard reported, Bey blew up the box office with her Formation World Tour ticket sales.

Beyoncé Formation World Tour
Beyoncé is one of the most successful female concert acts ever. [Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]
Beyoncé is joining Taylor Swift in booking double stadium shows in major cities. According to Ticketmaster, Beyoncé has two shows booked at Chicago’s Soldier Field and two shows booked at Citi Field by New York City. Her tour is set to be the top one of 2016.

So, who’s the bigger icon — Beyoncé or Rihanna? This is a difficult one to choose between. However, it’s obvious that Rihanna clobbers Bey on the music charts. Rihanna just scored her 13th No. 1 hit, even surpassing Michael Jackson’s 12 No. 1 songs. She will undoubtedly top Madonna’s record-breaking 38 top-ten singles soon. Rihanna certainly didn’t become the one-hit wonder many thought she would ten years ago.

Then again, Rihanna is currently having a difficult time filling arenas and even had to cancel some of her shows. Ticket sales have increased since Anti became a hit. However, even if Rihanna ends up filling up arenas, she can’t come close to filling up the huge stadiums that Beyoncé is currently selling out. Some would say that the concert box office is far more important than the music charts, especially since touring is where artists earn most of their money these days.

Fans on Twitter have pit both Beyoncé and Rihanna against each other.

One thing is certain: Both Beyoncé and Rihanna have changed the pop music landscape like no female artist since Madonna. They both thrill their fans and enrage their critics. Perhaps you don’t need to take sides; it’s perfectly okay to be a fan of both Beyoncé and Rihanna.

[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]

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