I blinked twice to confirm a misogynist was in my living room, not some QAnon forum.
I could have never imagined a conversation that starts with, "I just love Rihanna and A$AP Rocky so much," could have taken such a turn. It started as a late-night chat with friends, delving into our shared love for the couple and their love. "Yeah, but I hated that magazine cover." I knew he was referring to Rihanna's Vogue cover, with A$AP Rocky holding their son, walking behind her. I had posted it on ManServants' Instagram, yet I played dumb and asked follow-up questions to ascertain what triggered him about the cover.
I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I was missing some profound point. I quickly deduced the dumbest common denominator triggered him—it was because he stood behind Rihanna, letting her take the lead.
He didn't want people to view A$AP Rocky as, and I quote, "A little bitch."
I have to be honest. It's my job to highlight photos of men treating women like queens, so I'm desensitized to such adorable displays, and I think that's a healthy thing. It's easy to forget that this image could be unique to others.
I pointed out that he has seen the reverse of that image, the supportive wife, countless times, and why is that more normal? Isn't seeing a black billionaire superstar having the support of her partner on the cover of the most famous fashion magazine in the world a powerful image to show readers they, too, can have it all? His answer? He doesn't want people to view A$AP as, and I quote, "A little bitch”, and "I want people to know they are equal." Blink, blink.
Now, let's ignore they are not equals via celebrity status. One is a billionaire, and you would be hard-pressed to find a country where they didn't know Rihanna's name. Most countries would maybe assume A$AP Rocky is a form of currency. Equality is not what counts here. What matters is that A$AP Rocky does not need anyone, let alone some Andrew Tate mentee, to advocate on his behalf. After all, this is the hip-hop artist who once said, "When I go shopping, I don't really like to go into the men's departments. I go to women's because most men won't shop there." His sense of masculinity is entirely secure and requires no advocates.
His nickname for Rihanna is "My lady."
A$AP Rocky reflects a new masculinity that is devastatingly sexy and makes Vogue readers view him as more of a man, not less of one. His unique gender-defying style has broken the mold of Hip-Hop, a genre so often defined by hypermasculinity, along with other artists such as Kid Cudi, Young Thug, Lil Nas X, Lil Uzi Vert, and André 3000. He was ManServant material long before he publicized his affectionate nickname for Rihanna, "My lady."
A cover worth a thousand misogynistic arguments.
But then I realized A$AP Rocky doesn't need me advocating on his behalf, either. The cover speaks for itself. He has defined his version of masculinity and displayed his adoration for his life partner in a cover worth a thousand misogynistic arguments. I loved A$AP before he earned a place on the ManServants Hall of Fame after this. Because role-reversal images still trigger people, and my work is far from done. I have way more fragile egos to piss off.
Challenging the status quo is something both A$AP Rocky and Rihanna continue to do and do well. The couple recently welcomed a second son named Riot Rose and sparked questioning by debuting him dressed in pink in their first photos as a family of four. A detail so innocuous it almost begs a Miranda Priestly impression, "A baby boy in pink? Groundbreaking." But actually, it still is. Some fans pressed that Riot must be a girl until Rihanna set the record straight in the comments, "The Mayers Boyz."With that, I will leave the last word to the man himself, "I don't really care about anybody else's preconceived notions of what they think I should be doing or how I should carry myself. I'm comfortable in my own skin."