Rihanna is the cover star of Vogue Arabia's November issue.
The 29-year-old singer, designer and beauty mogul appears dressed as a modern version of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Photographed by Greg Kadel and styled by Anya Ziourova, the singer wears a custom Faeth Millinery designed headpiece and a white Gucci dress on the English cover. On the Arabic cover she appears in a snake leather jacket and the custom headpiece.
Nefertiti which means 'the beautiful one has come' is a symbol of women's empowerment. Evidently, the bust of Nefertiti which is on display in the Neues Museum on Berlin's Museum Island, inspired Ziourova in her production for the new cover. For her part, Rihanna has always claimed to be inspired by the queen so much that she has her iconic bust tattooed on her ribcage. The magazine had shared a 10-second-clip on Instagram with the caption: 'Thousands of years apart, two iconic women will finally meet in the pages of Vogue Arabia.'
'We are dedicating the issue to strong and dynamic women who are changing the world,' Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut wrote in the editor's letter. 'Rihanna, our cover star, is one of them. Not only is she one of the most successful pop icons ever, shaping the entertainment industry with her powerful tunes and unique sense of style, she is also an advocate for diversity. With a crown designed by Faeth Millinery, Rihanna pays homage to this unforgettable queen, who still reigns as one of Ancient Egypt's most celebrated figures.'
Shortly after Vogue Arabia unveiled the November cover, opinions were divided. Some readers of the magazine responded enthusiastically to the new issue, taking up the motif in sketches and posting their artwork on Instagram. On the other hand there were some who accused the magazine of cultural appropriation, claiming that Vogue Arabia perpetuated the notion that black and African people are interchangeable. Neither Vogue Arabia nor Rihanna has responded to the backlash.
What do you think of Rihanna's latest cover shoot - is it appropriation or does it pay homeage to Queen Nefertiti? Sound off in the comments below.