Following a social media backlash for using a song that sampled a recitation from Islam’s sacred hadith for her 2020 Savage X Fenty fashion show last week, Rihanna has issued an apology to the Muslim community.
The artist and designer, whose lingerie show was initially praised for its inclusivity, was called out by several Muslim fans for disrespecting the religion — a mistake she characterized as “honest, yet careless.”
“I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our savage x fenty show,” Rihanna wrote in her Instagram Stories. “I would more importantly like to apologize to you for this honest, yet careless mistake.”
The apology was issued on Savage X Fenty’s official Instagram account — one of the hit maker’s many business ventures that have made strides for including hijabi wearing women in their marketing.
Models clad in Rihanna’s colourful lingerie walked the catwalk and danced to “Doom,” a 2017 EDM song by London-based producer Coucou Chloe, during a segment of the Savage X Fenty show. The remix was called out in the past and reignited backlash for being sexualized in the fashion show, which got a splashy release on Amazon Prime Video last week.
In Islam, it is considered haram, or forbidden, to use Allah’s name, the words of the Quran or the prophet Muhammad impolitely. The hadith is a record of Muhammad’s words and actions. Rihanna’s followers on Instagram flooded her comments to point that out, urging her to educate herself and issue an apology.
“We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and I’m incredibly disheartened by this!” her Tuesday apology said. “I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of the song in our show was completely irresponsible! Moving forward we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding, Rih.”
Producer Chloe also took to her Twitter account to address the backlash and said she would be removing the song from streaming services.
“I want to deeply apologise for the offence caused by the vocal samples used in my song ‘Doom,’” she wrote. “The song was created using samples from Baile Funk tracks I found online. At the time, I was not aware that these samples used text from an Islamic Hadith.
“I take full responsibility for the fact I did not research these words properly and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to explain this to me. We have been in the process of having the song urgently removed from all streaming platforms.”