Rihanna, who has recently been under fire for exchanging sexually-tinged lyrics on a new song with ex-boyfriend and former abuser Chris Brown, could be helping domestic violence victims, according to four-time Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Annie Lennox.
Lennox, a Scottish political activist and philanthropist, spoke about the impact that 24-year-old Rihanna could have on abuse victims if she chose to speak up for them. However, Lennox, 57, acknowledged that the decision would have to be Rihanna's.
"Here is a young woman who has been through domestic violence and she could become a tremendous spokesperson for that issue but the choice is hers. It's not up to anybody else to do that," Lennox said in a report for The Guardian. "Of course if she did choose to do that it would be so [expletive] powerful but it's her personal right to choose it or not."
However, the concept is not a foreign one to Rihanna. After she was brutally beaten by ex-boyfriend and current collaborator Chris Brown in 2009, Rihanna spoke to Diane Sawyer about her desires to help other domestic abuse victims. The singer called her relationship with Brown dangerous, and spoke about her actions impacting young women.
"The more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other. When I realize that my selfish decision for love could result into some young girl getting killed I cannot be easy with that part." Rihanna told Sawyer in the 2009 interview that appeared on "Good Morning America." "I couldn't be held responsible for (not) telling them about Chris, even if Chris never hit me again. Who's to say that their boyfriend won't?"
Rihanna, who immediately tried to reconnect with her ex-boyfriend after the violent incident that resulted in Brown's assault conviction took place, told Sawyer that the decision to return to her abuser was embarrassing.
"I didn't want people to think I fell in love with that person. That's embarrassing that that's the type of person that I fell so far, unconditional in love (with) that I went back," Rihanna said. "You start lying to yourself the minute the physical wounds go away. This is what you don't want to happen again."
Three years later, the Barbadian singer recorded the "Birthday Cake" remix with Brown in which they both speak about engaging in sexual encounters with one another.
"Been a long time, I've been missing your body," Brown sings on the remix to Rihanna's song.
Lennox spoke about the rampant sexuality in the music industry in The Guardian report.
"The display of sexuality is part of our nature but I think when it becomes a cliche and that's the only thing you are using to draw people's attention it becomes one-dimensional," the 57-year-old singer said.
Still, she said Rihanna may be using her act to deal with other issues.
"We all have our issues and we have to deal with them in our own way," Lennox said.