Songwriter and alleged Rihanna collaborator Glass John created a stir Monday when he took to Twitter and launched into a tirade about the pop superstar, calling her his “wife” and blaming her “boyfriend” Travis Scott for delaying her album and hurting her career. The rant was in reference to the singer’s long-awaited eighth studio album Anti and John’s frustrations with the delays and decisions that have been made regarding the project and the song “Kiss It Better,” which John claims he co-wrote.
“I’m fighting to get ‘Kiss It Better’ to the world…But Travis Scott has been delaying it,” John tweeted. “I can no longer be on the low w/ my wife… So now I’m letting it be known. I put that on my life and on God. [sic]”
He then added a curveball: “Why do you think all the songs me and @ChrisBrown do are about Rihanna.”
Of course, Brown is Rihanna’s most notorious ex—and another man who decided to vent his frustrations regarding their relationship via social media. John continued his harangue.
“Travis Scott made her put out ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’… Rihanna is HIGH LEVEL DESIGN AND DOESNT NEED TO BE AT GHETTO UNSAFE CLUBS.
“I AM GOING TO BEAT YOUR ASS IF YOU EVER PUT MY WIFES LIFE IN DANGER,” John wrote, before clarifying, “I MENT EVER AGAIN…But I am going to literally beat your ass.
“It was suppose to drop on my birthday 11.6th so then me and her could tell the world about us,” he added. “Then it was supposed to drop on Christmas… But travis keeps putting doubt in her mind.”
John presents himself as someone looking out for Rihanna’s best interests, but he appears to have feelings for her that have nothing to do with career intentions. He wants to present himself as her protector but it doesn’t seem like she needs or wants his protection. Like a lot of men, John needs to believe that another man is guiding her steps. Instead of advising Rihanna to not go to rough, “unsafe” places, he calls out her man for taking her there. As if she has no will of her own.
But we see this sort of thing with female singers all the time.
Despite the fact that she’s a superstar and a successful businesswoman, some critics and commentators have always framed Beyoncé as just a pretty pop star held on a string by the high-profile men in her life—whether it be Matthew Knowles or Jay Z. There is a widespread notion that female superstars have to have a “daddy” in their lives to make decisions for them. Granted, all stars have a team, but when the star is a woman, we tend to have trouble accepting that it’s her decisions guiding that team. We’re always looking for a Svengali. From Mariah Carey (Tommy Mottola, Jermaine Dupri) to Janet Jackson (her father, Joe, producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and again, Dupri), we seem to want to view the career decisions of female stars as the product of male machinations, as opposed to their own vision and ambitions.
Rihanna is a top-tier, world famous pop star. She’s sold millions of albums and is one of the most iconic celebrities in our culture. There is no reason to believe that just being with a new beau would suddenly turn her into an accommodating puppet, bending to his tastes and whims. It’s more convenient for John to lay the blame at another man’s feet because we are societally conditioned to view men as the controllers of women—on top of the fact that John clearly has unrequited feelings for the star, whether he’s actually worked with her or not. In “calling out” Travis Scott, John shows himself to be both petty and patriarchal; a possibly scorned man who has decided that not having the woman he wants on his terms is enough to not only publicly embarrass her but also to frame her as a child who can’t make up her own mind. But it seems like she’s made up her mind—she simply didn’t choose him.
Of course, so much of this is speculative. Only Rihanna, Travis Scott, and Glass John know the status of their relationships. But Rihanna has agency to do as she pleases. Stop trying to own her. Stop trying to lead her. You’d be happier worrying about your own house, Mr. Glass.
Rihanna will still be Rihanna without you.