The story opens with Miranda July getting dressed, which is always one of the most important parts of conducting an interview. In this case, Miranda July is preparing to meet Rihanna, as is often customary with high-profile magazine interviews:
‘‘I’m going to meet Rihanna,’’ I finally yelled over the radio.
Here are a few things you will learn about Miranda July, courtesy of Rihanna, who is on the cover of T Magazine. Miranda July has amazing eyes:
Rihanna hugged me hello and we sat down in front of two glasses of white wine. ‘‘Your eyes are amazing,’’ she told me, pulling her chair closer. ‘‘I’m staring at you and I feel like my eyes are gonna blur because all I can see are those tiny dots.’’
She’s also very fashionable:
‘‘Can I ask you what this is?’’ she said, gesturing to my outfit.
‘‘Yves Saint Laurent, vintage.’’
‘‘Your taste — I mean, I can’t even talk to you.’’
Well, they kept talking.
Here are some interesting quotes from Rihanna, who has given scant interviews in recent years, as relayed by Miranda July, who has been contracted to tell us things about Rihanna.
Rihanna, an incredibly successful pop star, only recently stopped being scared of her own success:
‘‘I’m the same way. Only now are things hitting me, like I’m feeling them emotionally. I used to feel unsafe right in the moment of an accomplishment — I felt the ground fall from under my feet because this could be the end. And even now, while everyone is celebrating, I’m on to the next thing. I don’t want to get lost in this big cushion of success.’’
Rihanna is an economy unto herself, and yet she is still nonetheless disrespected by the suits who control capitalism:
‘‘You know, when I started to experience the difference — or even have my race be highlighted — it was mostly when I would do business deals.’’ Business deals. Meaning that everyone’s cool with a young black woman singing, dancing, partying and looking hot, but that when it comes time to negotiate, to broker a deal, she is suddenly made aware of her blackness. ‘‘And, you know, that never ends, by the way. It’s still a thing. And it’s the thing that makes me want to prove people wrong. It almost excites me; I know what they’re expecting and I can’t wait to show them that I’m here to exceed those expectations.’’ She sounded like a young black professional trying to make it in the corporate world, and I guessed she was — just on a very different scale.
It is great to hear Rihanna call America “random”:
‘‘That’s something I don’t think I could ever do,’’ she said. ‘‘Send my only girl to another random country to live with people she’d just met. It had to be God that paralyzed Monica Fenty’s emotions so that she’d say, ‘Yes, go.’ To this day, I don’t know how that happened. But thank God it did.’’
Rihanna doesn’t have time for a man, all of whom are threatened by her, probably rightfully so:
‘‘Guys need attention,’’ she explained. ‘‘They need that nourishment, that little stroke of the ego that gets them by every now and then. I’ll give it to my family, I’ll give it to my work — but I will not give it to a man right now.’’
On this subject, Rihanna concurs, of course, with Miranda July:
I said that it took me a long time to find a guy who wasn’t threatened by my power, and Rihanna quietly replied, ‘‘I’m still in that time.’’
Rihanna, whose music was once omnipresent, has only released a slow dribble of songs in recent years, instead focusing on her Instagram, basically. She has been less pop star and more socialite, seen so often but heard, now, rather rarely. Thus she has morphed into an enigma. What is going on with Rihanna? Here, we have a peek behind the curtain—but only a peek. Hopefully you wanted to learn just a little bit about Rihanna but not that much.
Anyway, back to Miranda July.
Souls are funny things. They stay constant even when the outside changes, or when the heart makes mistakes. Souls don’t really care about good or bad, right or wrong — they’re just true. Everlasting. It makes you sound dumb to talk about this stuff, which is why no one could tell me exactly what it was about Rihanna. But millions of fans don’t seem to need it explained to them. A soul just knows a soul. I never told you she was pretty because that’s not what I experienced. My understanding, from the moment she sat down, was that we were in love. We were the most in love any two people had ever been.
Before stepping inside my house, I lifted my blouse to my face; her perfume was still there. The problem with this kind of romance is that it all falls apart in the retelling. My husband and 3-year-old son tried but couldn’t really understand how overwhelming and profound my connection with Rihanna was. And I’ll admit that as the days go by, even I am beginning to doubt whether our time together meant quite as much to her as it did to me. It doesn’t matter. My heart still jumps every time I see her face.
Let the record show Miranda July enjoyed her time with Rihanna.
[image via Getty]