Let’s not glance over the different sizes and shapes of men and women on full display. A word to describe the casting choices and expression of the models and the fashion: unapologetic. Rihanna told Billboard, “I think the challenge every year is to make it better than the previous one and this year we went bigger, we went better, and I’m very proud of every part of the show.”

To the challenge of a bigger and better show, Rihanna surely added inclusion, gender-bending, 90s honoring, and dope to her production checklist: she delivered. The show commandeered Los Angeles’ Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Filmed sans audience–because, well, COVID– think of the show as what you would wear, listen to, and do during a sneaky link with the guy or girl you met at the concierge desk during your weekend stay.

Some hallmarks did much more than creeping into the show. Here is our recap.

Normani did the splits

Photo credit: Normani Savage X Fenty/Instagram

Filmed in the literal red room, immediately following a cameo by one of the original supermodels of the world, Cindi Crawford, Normani serenaded us while contorting herself into the craziest shapes. Surrounded by chocolate, she did the damn thing.

Non-binary mind-fuck

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A wave of designers from D-Squared to Marc Jacobs have understood the power in androgyny and gender-bending. Consumers are now honoring themselves over convention. Rihanna has surely tapped into the zeitgeist by showcasing talents like The Symone and Got Mik of Rupaul’s Drag Race, and Leiomy Maldonado among others.

Throwbacks made a comeback

Photo credit: Nas Savage X Fenty/Instagram

Although, they never really left. I almost forgot how many hits Busta Rhymes made. A full 17 of the 40-minute show was choreographed over a soundtrack of some of his greatest hits. Then to close the show, Nas delivered a single, “Rare” from his newest album, “King’s Disease II, and the absolute classic “Hate Me Now” from 1999.

Watch the full show on Amazon Prime Video

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