It's been four grueling years of no new music from Rihanna.
The world's wealthiest female musician hasn't been making a lot of music lately.
It's officially been four years since our majesty Robyn Rihanna Fenty released her eighth and most recent album, ANTI. That's not to say she hasn't been busy—she is running her own lines of makeup and lingerie, after all.
But no matter how successful, Rihanna's recent business and acting endeavors could never satisfy our need for her music. A lot has happened since January 2016, and we're long overdue for another record to soundtrack all our bad b*tch and sad b*tch moments.
To evidence just how much time has passed, here are 27 things that have happened since Rihanna released ANTI.
- Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar.
- Prince and David Bowie died just months apart from each other.
- Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt divorced.
- One Direction broke up, and each member released a solo album.
- Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris.
- Beyoncé debuted her visual album Lemonade on HBO.
- Ryan Lochte lied about being robbed in Rio.
- Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.
- Ariana Grande organized her One Love Manchester benefit concert in less than two weeks.
- The #MeToo hashtag took flight.
- Beyoncé pulled out of her Coachella headline slot because she was pregnant with twins. She made up for it the next year with arguably the best, most detailed festival performance of all time.
- Beyonce and JAY-Z made an album together and rented out the f--king Louvre.
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged, married, had a baby, and essentially resigned from the Royal Family.
- The Snapchat hotdog took over the world.
- Peppa Pig also took over the world.
- Kendall Jenner starred in both a really tone-deaf Pepsi commercial and a really weird Lil Dicky music video.
- Kris Jenner welcomed five new grandchildren who will never have to work a day in their lives. One of whom is Rob Kardashian's daughter with Blac Chyna, who also has a child with Tyga, the ex of Rob's half-sister Kylie Jenner.
- Taylor Swift was reportedly transported in a massive suitcase.
- The first Women's March took place.
- Bobby Berk did the absolute most for the least amount of recognition when the Queer Eye reboot hit Netflix.
- Pete Davidson started dating Ariana Grande, got engaged to Ariana Grande, broke up with Ariana Grande, dated Kate Beckinsdale, dated Kaia Gerber...am I missing anyone?
- Ariana Grande released the two best albums of her career just months apart.
- Cardi B threw a shoe at Nicki Minaj.
- The Jonas Brothers reunited and two of them got married.
- In just 10 days, a stock photo of an egg dethroned Kylie Jenner for the most-liked photo on Instagram.
- The U.S. Women's Soccer team won the World Cup.
- In an absolutely iconic power move, Rihanna mentioned in a cover story for Vogue that she and Drake are no longer friends.
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Summer Walker returns and is no longer playing games.
Summer Walker loves creating music but despises the music industry.
She regularly considers retirement and ended her 2019 tour early because of social anxiety. "I hope that people understand and respect that at the end of the day I'm a person, I have feelings, I get tired, I get sad," she said in a video post. "I don't want to lose myself for someone else." She was relentlessly vilified for her decision. Fans cited stiff meet-and-greets and chalked up Walker's cancellations to a sense of entitlement.
Then she was presented with the "Best New Artist" award at the 2019 Soul Train Awards, and her hurried acceptance speech was dissected by tasteless memes all across the country. Walker's candid cries for understanding remained completely ignored by years end. The truth of the matter is that Walker suffers from anxiety and stage fright that is all but totally crippling. So she did what any misunderstood artist does, she disappeared and stopped saying anything at all.
His face speaks to the pain and fear of renewed hope.
America cannot help itself when it comes to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
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Anytime they're in the same room together, a series of sirens immediately goes off in the offices of various tabloids and celebrity magazines. A familiar race kicks off to publish an updated carbon copy of a thousand previous articles with a handful of new pictures and some wild speculation about the two of them getting back together.
It's been happening since they divorced, 15 years ago, but has obviously accelerated since they both became single—Aniston having divorced Justin Theroux in 2017, while Pitt and Angelina Jolie finalized their prolonged divorce process last summer. We seem to have collectively decided that we all know these celebrities' lives better than they know themselves.
The story goes like this: Brad and Jen should never have broken up. The early 2000s were clearly the happiest time in both their lives, and the whole mess in 2005 was just one big misunderstanding orchestrated by Jolie's evil seduction on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We want them to need each other, and we need them to want to get back together. How we pieced together the entirety of their private lives through telephoto lenses and third-hand rumors remains a mystery, but we've done it, and we know what's best for them. We just know.
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That's what makes the strange man lurking in the background of their latest interaction so upsetting. It's unclear what his role at the SAG Awards was—a member of security? Event staff? Brad and Jen were nominated for their performances in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Morning Show—they both won—but what is this tall, broad shouldered stranger doing there? He seems designed to project strength, but he just can't. Not with the scene that's unfolding before him—with Jen's hand pressing against Brad's chest, Brad holding her wrist as if to make that touch linger a little longer. The strange man lurking in the background is allowing his pain to show through his façade of strength. He is wounded. Wringing his hands. He's been burned by this hope before—allowed himself to feel a glimmer of love again through the imagined restoration of this lost, perfect couple.
And now Brad has quit drinking and settled the custody dispute with Jolie. We can't help but wonder if he is finally mature enough to be stable and strong for Jen—who is two years out from her second marriage and looked as amazing as ever in a sheer, silvery-white dress. And there in the background, those pleading eyes are staring at Brad Pitt, begging him not to hurt us again. Don't hold onto her hand like that if you don't mean it. Don't look into her shining eyes with that charming smile if you aren't ready to commit to an entire country full of desperate shippers.
I don't know who the large, sad man in these pictures is, but I don't need to, because we are all him, and he is us—wanting to believe in love again, but so frightened of being hurt.
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