Rihanna’s pregnancy announcement was tongue-in-cheek perfection

I wasn’t surprised when Rihanna nailed her pregnancy announcement. She tends to excel in almost everything she does. Music? She is one of the most successful musical artists of all time, along with Madonna and Led Zeppelin, having sold 250 million records worldwide. (And that’s not even mentioning her nine Grammys, 13 American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards and six Guinness World Records, including one for being the female artist with the most US number one singles in a year in 2010 – I mean really, the list goes on.) Makeup? You don’t need me to recount the meteoric rise of Fenty Beauty, a staple in the cosmetics industry after just four years of existence. Savage X Fenty, her lingerie business, has been thriving since 2018. She’s even starred in movies (her credits include the 2018 Ocean 8listen)) and as the country’s ambassador to Barbados. What more could she do?

So, no, I wasn’t surprised when Rihanna gave us a masterclass in the most modern genre, the celebrity pregnancy announcement.

Rihanna chose to announce that she was expecting her first child this weekend, by simply dating. Except of course she didn’t just step out – she stepped out in an eye-catching pink winter coat, which she kept open to reveal her bare pregnancy bump covered in a large, bejeweled cross necklace. The feat is all the more impressive given that New York, where Rihanna was at the time, had just been hit by a severe winter cyclone that left the city blanketed in snow. The temperatures were far from mild. By her side was her partner A$AP Rocky, with whom she has been in a relationship since November 2020.

Celebrity pregnancy announcement is a rich genre. Throughout Hollywood history, A-listers have revealed pregnancies in person, on social media, in magazines, in press interviews, through introspective essays, and on their personal websites (though let it be more of a 2000s thing). In 2006, Angelina Jolie announced she was expecting her first biological child with Brad Pitt, telling an aid worker, “Yes, I’m pregnant” – a statement later confirmed by People magazine. And in a completely different style, Mindy Kaling is a known specialist to conceal a pregnancy (and even a child) until she is ready to talk about it publicly.

Rihanna’s pregnancy announcement picks up where her celebrity peers left off. It’s traditional in only one way, in that it relies on a bump photo – understandably a favorite medium in the pregnancy reveal genre, although some prefer to use ultrasound images. It’s staged just right – Rihanna and A$AP Rocky are both fantastic, but they’re just walking down an ordinary New York street. It’s a paparazzi shot, because of cours it’s – it’s Rihanna and A$AP Rocky. (Note: This series of photos was taken by photographer Miles Diggs, aka DiggzyWho vogue once considered “fashion’s favorite paparazzi.”) It’s the perfect blend of controlled aesthetics and laid-back cool. It will definitely be the start of a trend too, and we can expect people to emulate it the same way Emily Ratajkowski recreated Demi Moore’s Iconic 1991 vanity lounge pregnancy session for Halloween in 2020.

Photos also lend themselves to further analysis. New York Times Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic Vanessa Friedman wrote of the big reveal: “Contrary to Moore tradition, which often involved being as naked as possible, or [Beyoncé’s 2017 photo revealing she was pregnant with twins]who delved into art history, Rihanna chose a look and makeup that looks like a sly nod to fashion herself — specifically, Anna Wintour’s first vogue cover, in 1988, which featured Israeli model Michaela Bercu wearing old Guess jeans and a Christian Lacroix jacket with an ornately jeweled cross on the front, her hair blowing and wavy, laughing in the street.

Like many celebrities, Rihanna has been the subject of unfounded pregnancy rumors for years – whenever she wore tight or baggy clothes or was photographed from a particular angle or generally did anything . It makes the freshness of his revelation all the more enjoyable – oh this news? The news that’s sure to send fans and haters alike into a long-awaited downfall? Not serious. Except it kinda does. But not really. It’s deliciously laid back in the most ironic way, and it’s absolutely perfect.

Kudos, then, to Rihanna, and thank you — for everything, really, but in this case, for reviving a celebrity culture tenet that was overdue for an update.