Rihanna has issued an apology to the Muslim community after receiving backlash for using sacred Islamic verses in a song played at her fashion show.
The 32-year-old singer’s star-studded Savage X Fenty fashion show debuted on Amazon Prime on Oct. 2 and was praised for its inclusivity, featuring models of different sizes, races, and genders.
But after the praise came criticism. Viewers took offense to a portion of the show in which models clad in lingerie danced to a song which sampled audio of someone reading the Hadith, the holy narrative of the Prophet Mohammad that is deeply revered by the Muslim community.
“I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our savage x fenty show,” Rihanna wrote in an Oct. 6 Instagram story. “I would more importantly like to apologize to you for this honest, yet careless mistake. We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and I’m incredibly disheartened by this!”
She continued: “I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of the song in our project was completely irresponsible! Moving forward we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding.”
The apology comes after a flurry of tweets called out Rihanna, and London-based producer Coucou Chloe, whose song “DOOM” features the controversial Hadith narration about the end of times and judgment day.
“Rihanna is messed up for using a song with a Hadith in it to play at her LINGERIE show. What is up with artists using Islam as an aesthetic?? Have some respect,” wrote one Twitter user.
Another wrote: “using islamic hadith as background music is disrespectful on so many levels. i have honestly always loved @rihanna’s sense of diversity and inclusion in all her branding, but how can you preach inclusivity when you just disrespected an entire religion?”
On Monday, producer Coucou Chloe addressed the criticism on her Twitter, writing “I want to deeply apologize for the offence caused by the vocal samples used in my song ‘DOOM'.”
“I take full responsibility for the fact I did not research these words properly and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to explain this to me,” Coucou Chole added. She promised to have the song “urgently removed from all streaming platforms.”