Like many grown ups around the country, I was most inspired this week by the thousands of high school activists who walked out of their classrooms to protest against gun violence. But I want to give a shout out to another protest that also inspired me and should have gotten more attention.
This week, artist and businesswoman Rihanna posted a scathing rebuke of Snapchat for allowing an ad making light of domestic violence to appear on its platform. The ad was for a game called "Would You Rather?" and asked users to choose whether they'd rather "slap Rihanna" or "punch Chris Brown." It was a particularly disgusting ad given the fact that in 2009 Chris Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault after he hit, choked, and bit Rihanna while attempting to push her out of a car. The two were dating at the time.
What I respected about her protest was that even though Rihanna is a victim of domestic violence, her message wasn't about her. Rather she chose to be a voice for other individuals who are terrorized by assault and have far less agency than she does. "This isn't about my personal feelings...but all of the women, children, and men who have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven't made it out yet." Being a celebrity didn't immunize Rihanna from experiencing domestic violence, but she is using her celebrity to shed light on the issue in the most courageous way imaginable and achieving results: Snap Inc's stock fell by 4 percent after Rihanna posted her protest message on Instagram, Snapchat's competitor. When someone leverages their power to give power to others—that's what you call a super star.