Rihanna calls Rachel Dolezal 'a bit of a hero'

Rihanna

Singer says in Vanity Fair interview that the former NAACP chapter leader, who was accused of lying about her race, ‘changed people’s perspective’

A chapter leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People until her estranged parents revealed that she was actually white, Rachel Dolezal became an object of worldwide ridicule in June.

Now, however, she has received support from an unlikely quarter: Rihanna. Speaking to Vanity Fair, the singer said that she admired Dolezal for stirring up a discussion about race.

“I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit,” the singer said. “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.”

Dolezal was heavily criticised for living as a black woman and evading questions about her racial identity. She told Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today: “It’s a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of, are you black or white?”

Rihanna also discussed being a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her then boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009, saying that she resented having to talk about it continually. “It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously. But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. Nobody even wants to admit it. So to talk about it and say it once, much less 200 times, is like … I have to be punished for it?”

She added that she got back together with Brown after the assault in an attempt to change him. “I was very protective of him. I felt that people didn’t understand him. Even after ... But 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.

“And if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.’ Sometimes you just have to walk away.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Guardian staff, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 6th October 2015 15.57 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010