Rihanna, one of the top-selling music artists of all time, poured out her support to farmers protesting on the borders of India’s capital, New Delhi. Aside from music, Rihanna is also known for her involvement in humanitarian causes, as well as entrepreneurship.
She supports the farmers protesting three new agricultural laws enacted by India’s central government late last year. In her tweet, she asked why more people aren’t talking about the new laws. She advocated for other countries to highlight the farmers’ grievances.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
On January 26th, during a “tractor rally” protest organized by the farmers, the protesters clashed with police in many parts of the national capital, New Delhi, as they broke down barriers to enter the capital. Government authorities shut down the internet in many Haryana districts, a state neighboring outside the border of New Delhi. Rihanna utilized Twitter to draw attention to a CNN news story about the farmers’ plight.
Rihanna began receiving criticism from Indian citizens after that first tweet, where she asks the question, "Why aren't we talking about this?!" She added the hashtag #FarmersProtest.
With over 241,000 tweets, Rihanna was trending at #1 in India on Twitter. Till 11:10 pm (IST), her tweet garnered 144,000 likes and over 70,000 retweets. Rihanna’s initial tweet conjured up twitter responses from her fans and many other celebrity followers.
Senior government ministers, celebrities of India, and the foreign ministry are now urging people to come together and denounce outsiders who try to break the country.
The Indian Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, who supports the new farm laws, used Twitter to call out Rihanna. The actress said Rihanna was a "fool," called her a “porn star,” and said the protesters were not farmers at all. Instead, Ranaut calls them "terrorists who are trying to divide India."
Ranaut tweeted a few offensive messages about Rihanna, including: “She hasn’t released a single song in 5 years, sells makeup but looks like she is feeling Corona blues, Forbes estimated incomes are just PR gimmicks big sham, a million or two won’t hurt her right now, also notice in her tweet she did not commit to any opinion just a vague tweet.”
She hasn’t released a single song in 5 years, sells make up but looks like she is feeling Corona blues,Forbes estimated incomes are just PR gimmicks big sham,a million or two won’t hurt her right now, also notice in her tweet she did not commit to any opinion just a vague tweet. https://t.co/57VGWJZ8Be
— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) February 3, 2021
"No one is talking about it because they are not farmers. They are terrorists who are trying to divide India so that China can take over our vulnerable, broken nation and make it a Chinese colony much like the USA... Sit down, you fool; we are not selling our nation like you dummies," the actress tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Haryana state government ordered to suspend the mobile internet services in several districts and delay reinstatement of services until 5 pm on February 3rd.
Tens of thousands of the Indian farmers affected have been protesting for over two months against new laws that will loosen the rules around the sale, pricing, and storage of agricultural produce.
Unfortunately, the talks between government officials and the farmers, hoping to bring the protests to an end, have thus far failed. Indian authorities proposed suspending the disputed laws for 18 months but will not meet the farmers’ demands for a full repeal.