Rihanna has had her fair share of ups and downs, be they personal (Chris Brown) or professional (Battleship, anyone?). But, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Rihanna has emerged and triumphed once more—this time in a denim thong. If you’re at work and haven’t had a chance to watch the video for Rihanna’s stripper anthem “Pour It Up” yet, you probably shouldn’t click on this link. If, however, you happen to be at home (maybe you’re a nonessential government employee), then prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime.
Have you ever had a weird fantasy about a sexy, booty-poppin’ version of Ursula from The Little Mermaid? The “Pour It Up” video proves that Rihanna definitely has. Evil underwater vixen turned queen of the strippers is the main aesthetic that comes across here. Also, most of the video is filmed through a green filter. Because of money, you guys! The track opens on Rihanna approaching her swampy throne, decked out in an outfit Miley Cyrus could only dream of. Whoever said less is more clearly has never seen Rihanna in money-print stilettos, a bejeweled bra, an ankle-length fur coat, and the aforementioned denim thong. At this point, a series of images begins to flash across the screen. But be forewarned: this is no teen-movie makeover montage. As Princess RiRi holds court in a diamond choker, elbow-length leather gloves, and a Marie Antoinette–inspired blonde bob, her underwater army of dancers twerk, pop, and work the pole.
“Pour It Up” exists in a magical, ratchet room of requirement. Rihanna has only to croon about “strip clubs and dollar bills” and, lo and behold, a stack of bills appears in her leather-clad (and ring-adorned) hands.
More important, Rihanna takes her song’s status as a strip-club classic very seriously. Prior to the video’s release, the risque star Instagrammed a series of photos of herself maneuvering the pole, captioned, “My first pole lesson!” This video proves that practice makes perfect, as RiRi shows off her stripper skills in a backward cap and fringed bodysuit. But Rihanna’s twerk talents can’t be contained to the pole. In one sure-to-be-talked-about scene, she climbs her throne and starts booty poppin’ against it, officially making this the luckiest chair in the entire swamp. Near the end of the video Rihanna transitions into her last look: a mallrat-meets-Chanel ensemble. RiRi sports full-body fishnets, black leather thigh-highs, and a matching bra. And did we mention the Chanel? All of Rihanna’s bling, from her hip chains to her huge earrings, are brand name.
But back to the ambience. As the video proceeds, we realize that it was not shot in an underground swamp, but rather in our great-aunt’s rent-controlled apartment. We see flashes of a marble bust, a tasteful oil painting, and a modest lamp. However, these old-school accessories can’t distract us from the onslaught of images that culminate toward the end of the video. Dancers are suspended in midair like the cast of a ratchet Cirque du Soleil performance. Meanwhile, Rihanna shows off all of her different outfits in rapid succession, ultimately lying face down in the water and twerking for all she’s worth.
If there’s one thing we can say about “Pour It Up,” it’s that it gives the people exactly what they want: money, stripper poles, and Rihanna holding court as the baddest bitch around.