Listen to the Music

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Diamonds World Tour

I must admit that when I first heard about the Diamonds World Tour I was excited, but I wasn’t sold.  Yes, I like Rihanna and, yes, I like ASAP Rocky, but I wasn’t sure that I was a ride or die fan just yet.  Was I really willing to throw down money for them?  I didn’t know.  The only way I could solidify my stance as a fan was to do my research.

In the few months leading up to the concert, I satisfied every craving to listen to Rihanna and ASAP to the point that for a good while they were all I listened to.  I inevitably began learning verses and I got to do what most music lovers don’t truly experience.  I had the opportunity to actually listen to the songs.  Past the catchy hooks and the trendy beats, I found the messages within the lyrics that are so often overlooked by fans.  I got to see what Rihanna and ASAP truly represent.

In ASAP, I saw a boy with ambition, who’s an interesting blend of high-class society with trill hood mentality.  Yes, he talks about the traditional topics of drugs, money, and sex, but that’s just part of the package.  Those things are parts of him, so he can’t just ignore them.  Beyond that, he talks about the hustle and the struggle.  He talks about his innovation and the leadership he personifies.  ASAP’s music is honest, which is something I always appreciate, which is probably why I’m so empathetic to his lyrics and style.

At the concert, I was probably one of ten people in our section who was bopping to his melodies, I might be one of the few who could define “trillest,” and I was the only one within my sight actually rapping along with ASAP, but then again that’s just me.  You could say that at this point, I had indisputably become an ASAP Rocky fan.  I’m just grateful to my brother for putting me on to him before anyone else had even heard of the ASAP Mob.

Then, there is Rihanna, who, to the public, she’s a complex character.  Most of her songs embody female strength and independence, yet she is openly back together with the always scandalous Chris Brown, which is still mind-boggling for most.  Some people wonder how she can sing her songs, but not practice what she preaches.  At first, I agreed with the majority, but now that I’ve listened to what Rihanna has to say through her music, I get it.

Rihanna is representing females everywhere.  She is promoting ideas of independence, strength, and confidence within all women, but she is also being herself.  Women are often characterized as being very emotional, which is an aspect of her female identity that Rihanna refuses to (and shouldn’t) let go of.  Her music is most certainly empowering, at times risqué, and always has a tough touch, but it also is emotional and vulnerable.  I look at Rihanna and see a woman with a story.  She has suffered and has made mistakes, but, through that negativity, she’s grown and is beginning to find herself.  Rihanna represents the real woman.  A woman who is not perfect, but can admit it.  She is honest with a voice and isn’t afraid to experiment.

By the end of the night, I was sure that I had made the right decision in going to the concert.  ASAP proved his love for all of his fans, claiming “we’re all purple on the inside,” while Rihanna hosted one of the biggest parties the 1st Mariner Arena has ever seen.  A few months ago, I may not have been sure of where my loyalty stood, but today I can honestly say that I see a lot of myself in both ASAP and Rihanna.  On top of that, I can say with confidence that I look up to Rihanna for so many different reasons.  Say what you want, but I’ll argue that she does make a good role model.  All you have to do is listen to what she really has to say.

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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