When Rihanna asks you to be in her new music video, it’s not something you think twice about. Sure, it’s gonna be controversial, but it’s also gonna be badass, a global success and really fucking cool. Adding kidnapped wifey to her already impressive CV of cover star credits and movie roles including hologram megastar S1mone in Al Pacino’s cult 2002 title of the same name, the dream girl proves her worth in the NSFW and LNV-rated BBHMM. i-D catch up with the Next models beauty to discuss her new skills and tackle the backlash claiming the video is anti-feminist.
How did you react when Riri requested you for the video?
I didn’t have much time to react since it came together very quickly. I was in Paris and I knew it was really happening when Rihanna’s team asked if they could send someone to my hotel to fit me for the grills I wore.
Which scene was the most fun to shoot?
The party scene in the seedy motel was wild. I actually got to act without being bound and gagged.
Did you encounter any problems on set?
The whole thing was a roller coaster ride. There were so many locations and it was shot very guerrilla-style that I just had to hang on for dear life.
How long can you hold your breath for?
I’m a surfer so I’m used to holding my breath for as long as it takes to get out of the “spin cycle” when I get thrown.
How did you feel about being hung upside down naked?
Because I’m doing a stunt, I was more worried about getting hurt than having no clothes on. But it is definitely a first for me.
Rihanna pulled no punches on her highly anticipated video for the single “Bitch Better Have My Money” — literally.
The video, a pulpy story of Rihanna taking (occasionally bloody) revenge on a man who took her money, was co-directed by Megaforce, a quartet of French filmmakers who’ve previously masterminded videos for everyone from Kid Cudi to Madonna. Leo Berne and Charles Brisgand, two of the group’s members, spoke with Billboard about how it all came together.
How did you come up with the concept?
Leo Berne: The main idea came from her. We received a few paragraphs around the end of January [describing the story] with the guy who didn’t pay her. From that, we had to write the treatment, coming up with how we could change the story and keep her vision. We had to find what was in the middle, and how to finish on the same page.
How much of it was pulled from her own story [Rihanna famously fired her accountant for allegedly giving her bad advice in 2009]?
LB: That’s for her to say. It wasn’t a big deal to say who the guy was — we came up with the accountant during the shoot. We didn’t focus so much on who he was, we just wanted to use the opportunity to say who was the bitch.
Some people believed that was the girl, but through the whole thing it was about that guy. That’s the way we constructed the video. We wanted to have the guy appearing at the beginning, but you don’t really notice him.
In the end though, the whole video, he was the bitch.
When Rihanna dropped hervideo for Bitch Better Have My Money on Thursday, internet detectives immediately went to task sleuthing the identity of her unnamed Desi henchwoman. Who was she, the enigmatic brown girl who helped Rihanna knock model Rachel Roberts unconscious with a single swing of her wine bottle? One name kept reappearing in the breathless tweets and comments, a single first-name moniker, like Rihanna herself: Sanam.
Sanam is a 25-year-old Seattle resident who, prior to BBHMM, has never had any experience acting, in music videos or otherwise. Three months ago, she received an Instagram message notifying her that @badgirlriri had begun following her account. Days later, the pop queen sent her a mysterious Instagram message inviting her to collaborate on an unspecified project. Turns out, Rihanna had been wowed by a selfie Sanam posted, and wanted to cast her in the video for her new single.
Now Sanam’s on a first-syllable basis with “Rih” and racking up major internet fame. People are enamored with the mean-mugging accomplice who helped Rihanna seek revenge on her swindling accountant. VICE spoke with Sanam about being on set with a real world goddess, her quick rise as a brown girl Cinderella, and how she learned to love the internet.
Rihanna’s brand new video for “Bitch Better Have My Money” directed by Rihanna herself and Megaforce just premiered!
Ya girl got director skillz!!! The concept for this piece came to me 8 months ago!!! So you can imagine how anxious I am right now!!! 😬😬😬
Watch below or here the trailer for Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” music video. Full video directed by Rihanna & Megaforce coming on Thursday, get ready!
Rihanna’s music video for “Bitch Better Have My Money” is coming on Thursday, July 2nd. Check out the image Ri shared on Instagram and make sure to keep an eye on page for more details.
The music video for “Hard” by Rihanna feat. Jeezy has just become Ri’s 22nd VEVO Certified, meaning the video has reached over 100 million views!
FYI: Rihanna is the artist with the most VEVO Certified videos. Watch them here. Her VEVO channel has over 16 million subscribers and 6.5 billion views.
Full list: “Hard”, “FourFiveSeconds”, “Rehab”, “Cheers”, “What Now”, “Pour It Up”, “Hate That I Love You”, “Take A Bow”, “What’s My Name”, “Where Have You Been”, “Rude Boy”, “Only Girl”, “Man Down”, “We Found Love”, “California King Bed”, “Unfaithful”, “Don’t Stop The Music”, “Diamonds”, “Stay”, “Russian Roulette”, “You Da One”, “Umbrella”.
Via Revolt: When you think of the All-American prototype you might not necessarily think music megastar Rihanna, but after hearing her latest song “American Oxygen,” it will leave you in a quasi-time capsule of living the American dream.
An ode to patriotism, resulting in a sonically-tuned update to what could easily suffice as our national anthem, Rihanna’s visual is an equivalent to the tests our nation has faced over the past centuries. Linear to her eighth studio album’s backdrop of displaying a social and political consciousness through filters of an American rodeo theme, the singer incites a juxtaposition of patriotic imagery with archival footage of the United States’ most compelling and historical chain of events. From Martin Luther King’s funeral possession, Ferguson’s untimely marches, the 1968 Summer Olympics and Beatlemania, the noteworthy visuals fill the screen with standalone monumental moments.
Directorial team, Darren Craig, Jonathan Craven, and Jeff Nicholas spoke exclusively to REVOLT on conceptualizing the aesthetic aspect and allowing the essence of “American Oxygen” to unfold.
The video has an underlying message of political and social justice, was this a collaborative concept or simply an ode to the lyrics of the song?
Definitely collaborative. Rihanna really wanted to make people think with this one, and really wanted to make sure it wasn’t too focused on just the positive or just the negative. In the edit, it was all about finding the right balance of historical footage, positive and negative, that would work to juxtapose the two sides of American history. There’s glory in the struggle, there are ups and downs, and all of that is what makes America what it is. We wanted to find the right balance that pulled the viewer into different emotions and feelings about what they were watching.
We worked with Rihanna to show America from varying perspectives: along with including classic apple pie Americans, we also wanted to show those desperately trying to get here, the disenfranchised, the persecuted, those struggling against all odds to attain change, those who fought to make america what it is and the kids who hold America’s future in their hands.
Can you tell us about where the video was shot and the overall premise?
We shot most of the performance elements with Rih on a live runway, which apparently isn’t something that’s normally possible. Usually it’s out on a side road or taxiway, so it was pretty special to be able to build a massive American flag directly in the middle of a runway and shoot there. (Obviously they closed the runway to air traffic for our shoot so no one was in danger) We also shot over at the Pasadena City Hall, which is actually where they shot all the city hall exteriors for “Parks & Recreation.” So that was fun.
Really this video is an exploration of the rich fabric that makes up America’s history. There’s greatness and joy, but also pain and struggle. And all of that combined makes America what it is.
Rihanna’s visuals seem to be following an All-American theme, did she make mention of staying consistent with this idealism?
I mean, the song is called “American Oxygen.” The styling and themes for Rih’s performance was all about providing a fitting backdrop that would bridge together all of these amazing historical clips.