WHY, OH WHY are some people in this country so hypocritical?
So many of them called VOB's Down To Brass Tacks on Tuesday that one would have thought that Barbadian singing sensation, Rihanna, had committed a serious crime.
Most of the callers lambasted her for wearing a very revealing top - which was really a bathing suit - that showed her cleavage, stomach, back and hips; as was captured by a photographer on Page 1 of Tuesday's DAILY NATION.
Come on, people! The girl is 17 years old; a youth who would most likely have worn this outfit even if she were not a star.
Furthermore, the chart-climbing Def Jam artist was staying at a hotel in Accra, Christ Church and had just left the beach to cross the road and buy a cold drink from a restaurant. What's wrong with that when people, old and young, walk straight off the beach onto the road without towels every day?
Why be so hard on the young star who is enjoying her stardom, when nearly half of the women in this country - again young and old - let it all hang out on Kadooment Day and behave so lewdly on the street in their oft-drunken stupor that they can hardly remember the episode the following day.
But the hypcorisy goes further. Barbadians have started setting up people as role models as soon as they accomplish anything. Edwin Yearwood had to go through it, and so did Alison Hinds and Li'l Rick.
Granted, Rihanna has her fans who look up to her, but none of those fans between ages 15 and 25 expect her to dress like an Elizabethan countess when she is hanging out with her friends at the beach.
I cannot help but think that Barbadians tend to look for a weak spot - one's smallest point of vulnerability or culpability - to hammer as soon as one of their own achieves some level of fame or fortune.
Can't we handle the fact that Black Entertainment Television (BET), Music Television (MTV) and other networks are craving the company of the fairytale artist who was a virtual unknown a year ago?
And where do these mostly older radio callers get off trying to put such a huge responsibility on a hip-hop artist who is still a minor trying to come to grips with a life of stardom that's probably moving too fast for her?
Brass Tacks host Tony Marshall made the valid point that it had to be difficult for a young potential star from a developing country to have to take on a manager whose business is not to protect that artiste's pride.
Noting that the manager's aim was merely "to see how he can package you that you become the most attractive thing in the business and earn the most money so that his commissions are large", Marshall said this was the reality of showbiz.
I'm not advocating that Rihanna go out wearing a thong for the world to see as one young Bajan girl did at the last Elephant Man show here. But when she's coming from the beach or lounging by poolside for the brief time she gets to be back home, must she dress in a nun's habit?
When I hear people - women especially - crying down youngsters, especially for something as minor as this, I look around and calculate the age gap between many Barbadian adult women and their teenaged and early-20s offspring, and what I see is an almost entire generation who were having babies when they were Rihanna's age.
So stop the hypocrisy and let the young people be young.
WHILE ON the topic of Rihanna, though, my only problem during her visit last weekend was her refusal to give an interview to the local media.
After sitting for hours on other talk shows across the United States, two of my colleagues needed ten minutes at most to get an update on her career and future plans. Most of the background information is already known by us, anyway.
Her behaviour in this instance proved that not everyone can remain humble upon reaching a level of stardom. In fact, I have seen other local artistes avoid local reporters when asked to comment on issues - particularly controversial ones - yet they address those same issues in some aspect of the foreign media or in some in-flight magazine.
Knowing the fickleness of show business, Rihanna and other Bajan artistes should take a leaf out of Rupee's book and seek humility.
LIKE THE call-in programme, a number of letters have been coming my way in response to Tuesday's Page 1 picture of Rihanna.
I thought this one was worth reprinting:
'I am writing this letter in response to the article in the news on Rihanna and her dress code issue. First, let me just say up front I totally back the fabulous songstress and hope she continues on her upward ride to the top indefinitely with hard work and a clear head.
Now to those fault-finders on the call-in programme...and all others thinking along those lines, shame on you all for crying down our talented native and not backing her 200 per cent - for her God-given gifts that have put her on the stardom map among some of the world's best - simply for wearing a summer outfit at her own leisure on a hot day.
Is it her fault she was born beautiful and is now the most recognised face in Barbados? No! Is she the only female in Barbados who dresses to suit herself and the times? No!
Should we go out in support of her as one of our own who has made a name for us like some before her? Absolutely yes!
Foreign nations have embraced her for her abilities, yet here at home there are those finding fault with her wardrobe, of all things. Give me a break.
Rihanna should not have to take on the responsibility of the way others choose to dress, and we shouldn't ask her to, because people will dress how they wish, with or without her influence, yes, even young girls whose parents should be the only ones to hold that responsibility.
To all the fault finders, try being proud of our own for once.'
- ELICIA HOYTE