What's Rihanna's Connection to Exorcisms?

Jeremy Blacklow
Yahoo Music

Halloween was two weeks ago, but Rihanna is still bringing the creepy for us.

On Friday morning, the pop superstar released the music video for her latest single, "What Now," and, in the stylish spot's footage, she performs an exorcism on herself.

Earlier in the week, she released a "making of" preview for the video in which she talked about its genesis.

"It's gonna be kinda eerie, very creepy, because 'What Now' is one of those songs that could get very boring with the video, almost expected," she said. "Everyone's probably expecting a narrative type of video or a love story of some sorts, or something really soft and pretty … but it's really a little demented."

The video was shot over a 22-hour period in Thailand while Rihanna was on tour there. She describes her look in the video as "red carpet goth."

Perhaps it's fitting that the video was released the day after her ex, Chris Brown, re-entered society from an inpatient rehab program, because some people are hypothesizing that the video might be about her exorcising Brown from her life. Some of the song's lyrics ("I found the one, he changed my life … But was it me that changed … And he just happened to come at the right time … I'm supposed to be in love … But I'm numb again") certainly seem to imply as much.

Of course, having grown up in Barbados and having spoken frequently about her time in church, we guessed that Rihanna probably had a history with exorcisms, and sure enough, we were right. We dug up this 2010 interview that she did with radio DJ JoJo Wright in which she talks about her past experiences with the practice of ridding someone of evil spirits.


"You've seen a real exorcism?" JoJo asked RiRi.

"Yes," she replied. "A couple of different times actually. We would go to church and sometimes it would happen in church … In the middle of a ceremony, somebody would just get up screaming and spinning out of control … It's really like … you can't control it, night and day … They'd speak in a different voice."

"Did you know the person that was possessed?" JoJo asked.

"Yeah, like you know these people. And actually it happened in a house before. They were praying all around this table, and we were young though … but my aunt, you know, she's really involved in church. So, it was like a few of them, they were praying, and one of the girls got up and she just started SCREAMING, and I remember they locked us in the bedroom because they didn't want kids to see that … but she was screaming, and just like throwing herself around and every time that they would pray she'd just start screaming 'No, no, no,' like in the weirdest voice, I swear to you … It's funny now, but I swear at the time, I was like, sh-tting myself."

"When I came to the room, the lights went out," she continued, now laughing. "But it was raining really hard and so the power went out. But it was really just not a good thing to have happen at that time, you know? … It took a while but it was like, serious prayers."

Sounds intense!

This is the first November in five years that Rihanna hasn't put out a new album. Back in August, Idolator wrote that a new album was imminent, due to quotes they picked up from MTV Italy in which DJ Nicky Romero spoke about new music he was working on for her, along with her previous EDM collaborator David Guetta ("Right Now"). Still others hypothesize that she may have reached the end of her (standard) seven-album deal with her label, Island Def Jam, and that her future album making plans are uncertain. However, according to music industry blog Hits Daily Double, in August she reportedly signed a new long-term contract with her management company, Jay Z's Roc Nation, which itself recently re-upped its deal with Universal Music Group.

What is for sure is that Rihanna has been very busy since March traveling the world on her "Diamonds" tour (her fifth!), which finally wraps up Friday night in New Orleans. And her collaboration with Eminem, "The Monster," went straight to the Billboart Hot 100's Top 10 when it came out a few weeks ago. She'll be honored in L.A. at the 2013 American Music Awards with their first ever Icon Award on Nov. 24.

Be sure to check out our breakdown of some of RiRi's creepier exorcism moments from her "What Now" video, in GIFs:

And for an extra treat, be sure to check out the R3hab remix of "What Now":