We aren’t even two months into 2018, and already Rihanna is proving once again why she’s a household name. Case in point: During the music industry’s biggest night, Rihanna managed to make a real impact with her choice in dance moves — and the internet was all about it.
During the Barbadian singer’s performance of “Wild Thoughts” on the 60th annual Grammy Awards telecast, Rihanna sang alongside DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller. Rihanna is arguably the star of the show in any arena, but she caught the attention of home viewers when she started doing an unusual dance move known as the Gwara Gwara. While a study published the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that dance is just as effective a weight loss exercise as jogging and cycling, RiRi wasn’t busting a move to work off the calories. Instead, she paid homage to a newer style from South Africa, much to the delight of audiences in the know.
Created by Mzansi’s DJ Bongz, the Gwara Gwara dance has been featured in other celebrity performances, including those of Rihanna’s notorious ex, Chris Brown. DJ Bongz told TshisaLIVE he was honored Rihanna included the dance move in her performance.
“I created the dance from scratch and it feels so special to have it shown on an international stage like the Grammys,” DJ Bongz explained. “It shows that Africa can have a big impact on international dance. I don’t know what the next step is, but I know it will become bigger. This is a great moment for both me and South Africa.”
Fans went crazy on social media when they saw Rihanna’s choreography, too. Black Twitter virtually exploded with excitement during the broadcast and both viewers and fellow celebs applauded Rihanna’s subsequent Grammy win for her contributions to Kendrick Lamar’s “Loyalty.”
But Rihanna is branching out beyond music, too. Her new beauty line, Fenty, is regarded as the new industry standard, due in large part to its inclusiveness; the brand debuted 40 foundation shades from the get-go, a virtually unheard of feat. Not surprisingly, Fenty now has the most diverse customer base among similar brands and is about to outsell KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics (the beauty brands created by Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner, respectively) despite being only months old.
It’s not all about glamour for RiRi, either. Rihanna is set to attend the Global Partnership for Education Conference in Senegal, West Africa, where she will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron. They, along with other global decision-makers, will meet in Dakar to discuss the promotion of children’s education in Africa through Rihanna’s charitable non-profit, the Clara Lionel Foundation. Founded in 2012, the foundation aims to benefit underprivileged communities around the world through education and healthcare. While around 80% of American children who participate in preschool academically outperform peers who do not receive high-quality early education, those in the U.S. tend to take accessible education for granted. Rihanna will also meet with local school children during her visit to Dakar.
Whether on stage, at the makeup counter, or in charity work, Rihanna has made it her mission to increase visibility for people of color and other communities who have historically been excluded from the global conversation. While a dance move or a shade of foundation might not seem like much, it clearly means the world to so many.