International pop star Rihanna on Tuesday became the first global name to voice her support to the ongoing farmers agitation while criticising the internet shutdown at the protest site.
The 32-year-old singer, who has over 100 million followers on Twitter, took to the microblogging site and shared a CNN news article headlined, "India cuts internet around New Delhi as protesting farmers clash with police." "Why aren't we talking about this? #FarmersProtest," Rihanna wrote.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at several Delhi border points since November last year, demanding the government to repeal the three farm laws and legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
Rihanna’s tweet gained instant traction on Twitter within hours.
Who is Rihanna?
Rihanna, born as Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was born in Barbados, on February 20, 1988. She attended school alongside international cricketers Chris Jordan and Carlos Brathwaite.
Rihanna was an army cadet in a sub-military programme, and while she did want to graduate from high school, she dropped out and chose a career in music instead.
She has global chartbusters like "Diamonds", "Umbrella" and "We Found Love" to her credit.
The chart-topping single "Umbrella" earned Rihanna her first Grammy Award, leading her to be recognised globally.
Her accolades include 9 Grammys, 13 American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and 6 Guinness World Records.
In 2012 and 2014, Forbes ranked her among the top 10 highest-paid celebrities.
In 2012 and 2018, Riri was named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by the TIME magazine.
In 2017, Rihanna launched FENTY Beauty and took over the makeup market with its highly inclusive range, especially for women of colour.
In 2019, she was crowned as the wealthiest female musician, with an estimated net worth of USD 600 million.
The wealth was a result of her fashion label FENTY which rolled out clothing and accessories that broke all stereotypes.
Besides being an ace singer, Riri has also tried her hand at acting in some of the biggest movies like Battleship (2012), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017), and Ocean's 8 (2018).
Not to mention, the Government of Barbados also appointed her as an ambassador of education, tourism, and investment in 2018.
Is Rihanna Muslim?
Rihanna’s tweet in support of farmers led to many searching for her religion on Google, specifically trying to know if she was a Muslim by faith.
For those unversed, Riri was surrounded by Christianity since childhood. Speaking to the Interview Magazine, the 32-year-old said, "My first time praying and fasting was when I was 7 years old. I did that on my own, because I wanted to go to New York, and I knew that this was a sacrifice I had to make in order for god to make sure I could get there.”
The aftermath of tweeting
Bollywood actors Richa Chadha and Swara Bhasker, who have been vocal supporters of the agitation, lauded Rihanna's remarks, while actor Kangana Ranaut criticised her statement.
The singer was hailed by a section of social media users for speaking up at a time when many Bollywood celebrities have stayed mum on the issue. Last year, Punjab star Gippy Grewal had criticised the Hindi film industry for not standing up for Punjab when the state needed their support for the ongoing farmers' protest.
Only a few stars from Bollywood, however, have come out in support of farmers, including Diljit Dosanjh, Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chadha, Sonu Sood, filmmaker Hansal Mehta, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Divya Dutta and Neha Sharma.
Farmer unions on Monday announced a countrywide 'chakka jam' on February 6 when they would block national and state highways for three hours in protest against the internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.
Sites of the farmer protest at Delhi's borders have turned into fortresses with the police beefing up security and putting up multi-layer barricades to stop the movement of vehicles. Barbed wire has also been put up to keep off people on foot.
The strengthened security measures at the agitation sites across the Delhi borders come after the violence during the Republic day tractor parade by protesting farmers in which 394 security personnel were injured.
In another post on Tuesday, Rihanna also lent her support to the people of Myanmar, following the military coup and subsequent political developments in the country.
"My prayers are with you #myanmar!" she tweeted while sharing a post by Human Rights Watch.
Myanmar's powerful military grabbed power in a coup against the civilian government and imposed a state of emergency after detaining Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) in the early hours on Monday.
With PTI Inputs