Ok Rihanna, we see you! For the first time in ESSENCE Magazine’s 50 year history, they’ve commissioned iconic multimedia visual artist Lorna Simpson to give her own interpretation of contemporary beauty in collaboration with singer, actress, and businesswoman, Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
The stunning cover comes after a globally tumultuous year for all of us, in which Rihanna still put her best foot forward to put her support behind Black Lives Matter, push her fans to the voting polls, redefine beauty and gender norms with her second Savage X Fenty show, and even gave us some much-needed skincare advice via Fenty Skin and Fenty Beauty tutorials.
It’s safe to say that she absolutely did the damn thing in 2020, and Essence’s January/February 2021 issue is proof that there are no ceilings for Rihanna. In fact, covering Essence with the help of Lorna Simpson was actually a challenge Rihanna wanted to accept:
“Lorna is a legend,” said Rihanna. “Honestly, I just didn’t think I could get her,” she laughed. “But I like reaching for the stars and I like challenging myself.”
Simpson, who is known for her unique reimagining of vintage images of Black Women through collages, photography, and other media, shares the same sentiments about working with Essence and Rihanna:
“[Collaborating] with Rihanna and ESSENCE magazine is quite incredible,” Simpson said while on set. “As an artist, I’m able to deliver these unusual images of someone who is so well-known and so recognizable… It’s an amazing opportunity.”
The cover, however, isn’t the only piece of collaboration for the pair. Simpson and Fenty have created a full 12-page series of photographic collages entitled, “Earth & Sky” which will also be previewed in the latest issue of Essence.
Check out the images below.