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Seven years, Seven Albums: But Rihanna's is a Warped Example of a Work Ethic for Young People

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Her 26m Twitter followers will likely strongly disagree with me. And everyone else might call me a hypocrite for criticising her while continuing to listen to her absolutely irresistible music (yes, that was me sitting at the bus stop staring blankly into space while Russian Roulette was blaring through my headphones - what can I say, it always sparks deep, indulgent moments of introspection). Nevertheless, can we please drop the pretence that Rihanna is, by any stretch of the imagination, a role model?

I know, I know - we've been here before. And when it comes to the endlessly fascinating woman in question, a lot of people have a lot of axes to grind. As such, I'll refrain from adding to the chorus of voices who judge and lambast her lyrics, state of dress and relationship status at every given opportunity. To be fair, my issue today isn't even with Rihanna as such. She can and I dare say always will do what she wants; in fact, I doubt she even considers herself a role model. My issue is more with the journalists who commentate on her - and thus compulsively kiss her ass.

Before I continue, I'll concede: she's got a lot on this week. Not only is she releasing Unapologetic, her seventh album in seven years, but the 24-year-old has also seized the Boeing 777 and embarked on an epic promotional tour (dubbed the 777 Tour) to celebrate. It spans seven cities in seven days, from LA to New York via Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris and London, with a few hundred or so fans and Champagne-soaked members of the press in tow. Today, she touches down in London. Cue hysteria.

If nothing else one must admire the audacity of such an admittedly glamourous and attention-courting, albeit utterly economically overindulgent PR stunt in these hard times. What's more, I dare say a week's worth of transatlantic performing and professional partying is probably a lot more demanding than it sounds (just think of the jet lag). And regards the lady in question, to be frank I'm concerned she's headed back for the infamous vitamin drip. This is not a joke. I don't doubt she's exhausted.

But as the album campaign works its magic - as the press and Twitter alike pulsates with excitement around the tour and this month's fresh round of carefully staggered controversies - I'm taken aback by the frequency with which Rihanna's allegedly 'superhuman' work ethic and stamina is cited and gushingly praised. Seriously, it happens all the time. And not just by those paid to write about her. When new-kid-on-the-block and epic brown noser Rita Ora bigged her up earlier this year, that was another kettle of fish entirely.

The United Nations' International Labour Organisation recently estimated that 75 million 15 to 24-year-olds are currently out of work around the world. I'd wager a bet a sizeable proportion of them idolise Rihanna, who has been manning the hit album and single production line for roughly the same stretch of years. Keeping in mind, the vast, vast majority of said albums and singles she didn't write and routinely performs poorly and/or while inebriated; the general creation of which she had a relatively small contribution too.

We can't blame celebrities for the world's problems, I know. But for anyone to make an example of Rihanna's hectic schedule and work ethic in any relatable, traditional sense is misguided, and to tout her as a high achiever is arguably a massively discouraging insult to every other hardworking young person, whether in employment or in feverish pursuit of it. She's overworked, yes, but also dramatically overpaid, and should she as reported accept an incomprehensible £5m to push a button and turn on Westfield Christmas lights tonight - well, underworked and overpaid would be more accurate.

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