Rihanna Graces Unique ‘Essence’ Magazine Cover

Rihanna gets the collage treatment in this one-of-a-kind Essence magazine cover.

Legendary artist Lorna Simpson collaborates with Rihanna to reinterpret the narrative of modern-day beauty in the gorgeous photographic cover collage, Of Earth & Sky.

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Rihanna. Photo: Lorna Simpson/Essence
Rihanna. Photo: Lorna Simpson/Essence
Rihanna. Photo: Lorna Simpson/Essence
Rihanna. Photo: Lorna Simpson/Essence

“I needed to create images of Rihanna to place within the environments of source materials from my archive,” Simpson explains. “For the project to have the same kind of dramatic visual intensity as my collage work to date, I had to consider the atmosphere and lighting of specific source materials before arriving to set.”

“Knowing Rihanna’s charisma and commanding presence, my effort was then to be as present and prepared as possible to capture her exquisite performance for the camera,” she adds.

Actor and writer Zora Simpson Casebere, Simpson’s daughter, reveals how Rihanna helped shape her womanhood.

“At 13, I was deeply grateful that at a formative time in my life, it was Rihanna’s voice and art that became my portals to so many questions about sexuality, sexual exploration, and sexual autonomy,” she says.

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Rihanna. Photo: Lorna Simpson/Essence
Rihanna. Photo: Lorna Simpson/Essence

“When Rihanna arrived at the set — my first time seeing her in real life — I was mesmerized,” Casebere adds. “She was the very definition of grace, charisma, and influence.”

The gorgeous issue also pays homage to vice-president-elect Kamala Harris. The January + February 2021 issue of Essence is available on newsstands next week.

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