Rihanna: 'Transgender people aren't a marketing tool'

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionRihanna has already won praise for refusing to test her make-up range on animals

Rihanna has never been shy of speaking her mind and her latest views, on the status of transgender models, have been widely praised on social media.

The singer was asked by a fan to consider using a trans woman to promote her Fenty Beauty make-up range.

"I've had the pleasure of working with many gifted trans women over the years," she replied, "but I don't go around doing trans castings!"

"I respect all women. Whether they're trans or not is none of my business."

The star went on to criticise firms who hire models from minority groups as a "token" gesture.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

"I don't think it's fair that a trans woman, or man, be used as a convenient marketing tool," she said.

"Too often I see companies doing this to trans and black women alike.

"There's always just that one spot in the campaign for the token 'we look mad diverse' girl/guy! It's sad!"

The conversation took place between Rihanna and Brazilian fan Alberto Otero, via private messages Twitter. He then took a screen grab of the star's comments and posted them on his public account, @lbertootero.

The BBC has verified the comments are genuine.

media captionFenty Beauty is not the only brand to stock a wide range of foundation shades

Many fans praised the pop star's stance.

"As a trans woman I have so much admiration and respect for Rihanna," wrote one user. "She worded all of that so perfectly and respectful and kind. She's a true angel."

"Good on Rihanna to not want to exploit trans women just for the sake of marketing," added @silbiee, who posts under the name Heart Shaker.

"I'm proud of my idol," said a Chilean user called Francisca , while US fan Jason simply called Rihanna "queen of lgbt".

However, some disagreed with the star's reasoning.

"I see where she's coming from and yes she's right," wrote Chris Holmez on Twitter. "However, at this time trans people need visibility immediately. Trans people need to be seen in media, especially beauty brands. Trans people need to be normalized in society.

"It's a lot more deeper then just a marketing tool."

image captionThe star was nominated for a Grammy this week for her duet with Kendrick Lamar, Loyalty

Rihanna has already received praise for her Fenty Beauty line, which caters to a wider range of skin tones and types than most mainstream brands.

She also refuses to test her products on animals, meaning the range will not be available in China where animal testing is required by law.

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