One of the strangest stories of 2015 has been that of Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP leader who became the focus of controversy and no small amount of ridicule when her parents revealed that she was white, not black, back in June. However, Rihanna has stated some admiration for her, calling Dolezal “a bit of a hero” in a new interview.

Dolezal was a former leader for the Spokane, Washington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Rihanna claims that her deception was not that big a deal and helped change people’s perceptions, as well as continuing a discussion about race in America.

RihannaRihanna was speaking to Vanity Fair

“I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit,” the 27 year old said to Vanity Fair. “Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”

In the aftermath of the controversy earlier this year, 37 year old Dolezal was heavily criticised for ducking questions about her identity. “It’s a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of: are you black or white?” she told NBC, claiming that she “didn’t deceive anybody”. However, she was eventually forced to resign her position at the NAACP.

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In the same interview, RiRi spoke about the domestic violence she suffered at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown back in 2009. “It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously. But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. Nobody even wants to admit it. So to talk about it and say it once, much less 200 times, is like… I have to be punished for it?”

Of course, the pair briefly reunited in 2013, years after Brown’s conviction of felony assault, something that Rihanna admits she did because she believed she could change him. “I was very protective of him. I felt that people didn’t understand him. But you realize after a while that in that situation you’re the enemy.

“You want the best for them, but if you remind them of their failures, or even if you say I’m willing to put up with something, they think less of you – because they know you don’t deserve what they’re going to give. And if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.’ Sometimes you just have to walk away.”

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