Pop singer Rihanna has stirred up controversy about celebrity use of Instagram and the N-word. The singer recently posted a picture of herself with a young boy on her lap. The photo, posted to Instagram, was tagged with the caption “My lil n***a.”
Rihanna’s caption sparked criticism from her fan base, many of whom used Twitter as an outlet to express their disapproval.
One fan tweeted, “The word is derogatory. If some cultures aren’t allowed to say it, no one should.”
Another said, “So I love the hell out of her but that word I hate.”
The self-proclaimed “good girl gone bad” has made many recent headlines with the racy and provocative photos she posts on the site, including one of her smoking marijuana. But those who work closely with the stars, like Treavion Davenport, a Los Angeles-based PR expert and celebrity publicist, believe that celebrities should proceed with caution when posting images to unfiltered social media like Instagram.
“Unfortunately many celebs get caught up in the moment and the common folk norm of posting thoughts, observations, and candid photos; that they underestimate the potential negative and far reaching impact,” says Davenport.
Instagram, much like any other social media, gained fan interest from the lure of access into celebrities’ private lives. Instagram is a photo-sharing app that posts images instantaneously.
Celebrity publicist and brand strategist April Love agreed with Davenport telling theGrio, “I advise clients that social media can be our best friend one day and our worst enemy the next.” Love has worked with various celebrities such as Monica, Cee-Lo Green and the media personalities from the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Other stars, like Fantasia Barrino, have been hit with the backlash of posting controversial photos on Instagram.
Last year, the “American Idol” singer caused uproar when she posted anti-gay marriage sentiments on the site. She later backtracked and said that her words were “taken out of context.”
“I think that celebrities have a fine line to walk when it comes to social media,” says Kelley L. Carter, an Emmy Award winning entertainment journalist. “There’s danger there — and we’ve seen it play out many times.”