In an industry that is often branded as exclusionary, Rihanna's Savage x Fenty shows have always been heralded as a welcome reprieve.
The star took the once-successful Victoria's Secret show format of pairing musical performances alongside lingerie-clad models and turned it on its head, creating something which could truly be described as inclusive.
Rihanna's lingerie shows have always been an authentic celebration of body diversity, featuring models of all shapes and sizes. In Rih's world, this never felt like tokenism or a box-ticking exercise, it was simply an inherent component of what she set out to create.
Of course, this inclusive mentality did not stop at the shows, Savage x Fenty's shoppable collection is available in up to a size 4XL (which is equivalent to a UK women's size 26).
Yesterday, the fourth volume of the highly-anticipated Savage x Fenty show was released on Amazon Prime, and I was lucky enough to attend a viewing party alongside some other people in the industry. As to be expected, the show was just as diverse as previous iterations, featuring the elaborate choreography often reserved for music videos. The cast featured both male and female curve models, and even had special guest appearances from the likes of Cara Delevingne, Taraji P. Henson, Joan Smalls and Lilly Singh.
One guest appearance that felt particularly jarring, however, was that of Johnny Depp. About halfway through the show, the actor emerged dressed in a green robe and trousers. He was filmed walking through a forest with choreographed dancers behind him. From all the whispers and audible sighs heard in the crowd, it was clear that within the theatre I was in, his presence was not well received.
Given the recent media attention surrounding Depp and his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard, the decision to include the actor in this video felt like a misstep on Rihanna's behalf. Depp has been accused of domestic abuse by Heard, and although he may have won the defamation trial, the evidence shared within the trial alone should have been enough to have Rihanna rethink his inclusion.
Of course, it is plausible that the show could have been filmed prior to Johnny Depp's trial. Although even if this was the case, his appearance could have easily been edited out of the video in post-production.
For a brand that has historically been such a positive force for change in the fashion industry, it is sad to see this year's show eclipsed by negative media attention. Johnny Depp's inclusion could have easily been sidestepped, and yet this one decision has now overshadowed the brilliant work of the rest of the team involved.
The choreography is impeccable, the dancers are so talented, and there would have easily been a few hundred people involved in the production. Yet, all of their work is now being undermined, as headlines continue to pile up condemning Depp's involvement.
Some say all publicity is good publicity but in this instance, that does not seem to be the case.
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