WHO GETS YOUR VOTE? Beyoncé, left, and Rihanna
LOVE them or loathe them, there’s pretty much no escaping Beyoncé and Rihanna when they make their moves in the industry.
Having recently made a very grand comeback to the business with her eagerly awaited new single Run The World (Girls), Beyoncé’s return took up countless column inches, with what seemed like every man and his dog having something to say about the new single and its accompanying video.
Her subsequent performance at the Billboard Awards last month – which saw the 29-year-old superstar undertake a vigorous routine while interacting with futuristic video projections on a screen behind her – definitely had many folks thinking: Queen B is back.
However, some feel that B still has a lot of ground to make up. Whilst fans awaited her comeback single – the first to be taken from her upcoming new album 4 – there was a void left in the market for other talents to fill. And in this time, there was no getting away from pop starlet Rihanna who garnered huge attention with raunchy live performances, controversial songs and videos, and a few highly-publicized rants on Twitter!
Even with Beyoncé’s return, Ri-Ri’s heat hasn’t faded. Her new single Man Down has, once again, earned her plenty of attention, with several folks criticizing the video, in which she guns down a man after he attacks her.
Many love the catchy reggae track in which the Bajan star sings, ‘Oh mama, mama, mama, I just shot a man down’ – others say it glorifies violence and gun crime.’ Either way, it’s had the desired effect: it keeps Ri in the headlines.
On top of that, the singer recently took to Twitter (again) to hit back at parents who feel that her music is a bad influence on young children.
“The music industry isn't exactly Parents R Us,” the 23-year-old tweeted. “We have the freedom to make art, LET US! Its your job to make sure they [your kids] don't turn out like us.” Suffice to say, the message garnered the singer plenty of attention.
So how do you assess two very different talents who both boast huge fanbases and both have their every move assessed by the media? Let’s look at their strengths:
* Having started in the industry as part of Destiny’s Child back in 1997, B’s a stalwart in the game and has years more experience than Rihanna
* Her strong vocal ability is undeniable, while her live performances are always perfectly polished and generally impressive
* She’s a triple threat in the industry, juggling singing, dancing and acting, making her an all-round entertainer
* Her status in the industry has seen her deemed as a role model, who has been praised by the likes of Michelle Obama. The pair even worked together last month for a campaign to fight childhood obesity
* After ditching the ‘girl next door’ image she embodied when she emerged on the scene in 2005, Rihanna has gone on to become a style icon, switching up her hairstyles and her image whenever the mood takes
* Musically, she certainly takes risks, whether it’s pumping out pop smashes or drawing on her Caribbean heritage to deliver reggae-infused hits. She’s also helped to put Barbados on the map within in pop culture
* Following her assault in 2009 at the hands of her then-boyfriend Chris Brown, she became a mouthpiece for other victims of domestic violence when she discussed her experience and urged other victims not to be blinded by their love for their abusive partner
* She’s more natural and less polished. Clearly not a PR puppet, she’ll do as she pleases and speak her mind, even cussing on Twitter when her vexation reaches boiling point!