What the reveal of Rihanna’s baby name reveals about celebrity privacy

A publication revealed an alleged picture of Rihanna’s son’s birth certificate; now, let’s discuss privacy ethics.

One thing we can say about Rihanna is she does everything in her own time. Whether it’s her music, business, or personal life, the award-winning mogul marches to the beat of her own drum and does not yield to the world’s expectations (no matter how much we might beg for that next studio album). 

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Rihanna and partner A$AP Rocky arrive at the 2023 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

So one can imagine the world’s surprise when, just days ahead of his first birthday on May 13, the Daily Mail reported the name of her and A$AP Rocky’s infant son with a picture of the baby boy’s alleged birth certificate.  

Since giving birth almost exactly a year ago, the Fenty mogul has been very intentional with her baby’s interactions with the media. In December 2022, Rihanna posted her first reveal of her grinning baby boy on TikTok; since then, her son has appeared several more times on social media and made his modeling debut in a March 2023 cover story for British Vogue, as well as in paparazzi photos. 

During that interview, the new mother disclosed the real reason behind her first viral video. As the family posed for Vogue’s early morning beach cover shoot, a paparazzo snuck pictures of the family behind the scenes. 

“I just went straight into protective mode,” Rihanna told British Vogue. “Like there wasn’t even time for rage. [Rocky and me] drove up to the trailer area, and we sat in the car chatting and working out how we move forward. As parents, it just feels so icky, like a violation.” 

With just a few scrolls through her camera roll and a reported Facetime call with Jason Lee from Hollywood Unlocked, the couple reclaimed their power and revealed their son to the world on their own terms. 

“We get to decide as parents when and how we do that — end of story,” said Rihanna about the invasion of her family’s privacy. “Throw me to the wolves. Do what you want with me. But he doesn’t have a say in any of this. We’ve been protecting him thus far, and you don’t have any consent to be posting photos or selling photos of my child, a minor. Get the hell out of here with that.” 

Despite the world knowing Rihanna’s child’s face, the couple has never publicly said their child’s name. Nevertheless, the media has yet again gone too far for the sake of a story. The reveal of the name chosen by the couple and his alleged birth certificate calls into question the ongoing issue of privacy in the media. Despite birth certificates being public records in California, the decision to post an image of the birth certificate crossed a line in the eyes of many social media users. 

“Posting Rihanna’s child’s birth certificate online is really a bit over the top,” tweeted Philip Lewis, a senior editor at HuffPost. 

“I feel so bad for Rihanna. Paparazzi snuck photos of him, so she had to release pictures of him, and now they dug up her son’s birth certificate. It’s an invasion of privacy for a BABY,” another user tweeted

This is far from the first time a publication has violated a public figure’s privacy. Last year, Meghan Markle won a settlement against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, for an invasion of privacy case after the publications published and reproduced parts of a personal and private letter written to her father in 2018. 

Though Rihanna has not made any direct comments about the recent reveal, she hasn’t been secretive about her pregnancies. Nevertheless, she is entitled to some respect put on her child’s — or children’s — names.

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