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Rihanna ‘immediately wanted’ to braid sons’ hair as ‘form of protection’

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When Rihanna became a mother, she knew right away that she wanted braid her kids’ hair.

“This is a form of protection by our ancestors. … [It] makes us realize where we’ve come from,” the “Diamonds” singer told Vogue China in her April 2024 cover story. “This is our lost history. I immediately wanted my children to have their hair braided. … It’s something in our blood.”

Rihanna, 36, shares two sons, 22-month-old RZA and 7-month-old Riot, with her boyfriend, rapper A$AP Rocky, whom she credits for teaching her more about the cultural History behind braiding.

“I really learned a lot being around him, but even with him, he wore his hair in pigtails. It’s just a thing of the past,” she shared.

Rihanna on Vogue China cover
“This is a form of protection by our ancestors,” the singer told Vogue China. Vogue
A$AP Rocky poses in the mirror with his son.
She also credited her boyfriend, A$AP Rocky, for teaching her more about the hair tradition. asaprocky/Instagram

But braids aren’t anything new to Rihanna.

As she graced the magazine’s cover in two looks — one being a custom white CPlus Series dress paired with box braids — she talked about her own experience getting her hair braided while growing up in Barbados.

“It was all a local mom could do for her kids. Some people grow up in single-parent families, with moms working three jobs, and they don’t have time to kiss you every day when you go to school,” she said.

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky pose with baby Riot.
Rihanna said braiding hair was “all a local mom could do for her kids” in her native Barbados. DIGGZY/REX/Shutterstock
A$AP Rocky and pregnant Rihanna
She had her two kids back-to-back. Getty Images for Gucci

“This is a form of protection, our roots, and a tradition left by our ancestors. At the end of the day, it’s still beautiful, and I love it. From an aesthetic standpoint, there are so many things you can do with braids and so many looks you can achieve.

“I remember seeing this scene all the time when I was a kid: tourists coming to Barbados, sitting on the beach in the sun, braiding their hair and letting it go. In fact, I have wanted to do this myself since I was a child, but in the end, I would let the girls at home or neighbors comb my hair. My mom also braids my hair, but she always sends me to the salon to get it braided because it lasts longer.”


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Rihanna, who has been dating Rocky, 35, since 2020, welcomed RZA in May 2022.

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky pose with their son.
The couple welcomed RZA in May 2022 and Riot in August 2023. asaprocky/Instagram
Rihanna and A$AP Rocky pose with their sons.
They’ve been dating since 2020. DIGGZY/REX/Shutterstock

The Fenty Beauty founder gave birth to Riot in August 2023.

Rihanna has said that watching Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, become a father made the couple even closer.

“I loved him differently as a dad,” she told “Access Hollywood” in December. “This is major, major — like, it’s a turn-on. It’s just like, ‘Wow! What a leader. What a great, patient, loving [dad].’”

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