rihanna an lingrong empresses of the palace comparison chinese drama

Rihanna Compared to Fictional Concubine and You’ll Never Guess Why…

Netizens are in awe over the perceived similarities between the lives of Barbadian singer Rihanna and a concubine from the drama ‘Empresses in the Palace’

4 0
3:08 PM HKT, Wed November 2, 2022 1 mins read

An Lingrong, a fictional character from the historical drama Empresses in the Palace, recently went viral on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo after a netizen compared An’s plotline to the career of Barbadian pop star Rihanna.

The comparison began with a simple post: “An Lingrong was originally a singer, but in the second half of her life, she focused entirely on the research and development of chemicals and didn’t sing very much. Isn’t that like Rihanna?”

side by side of the character and rihanna

A side-by-side of the fictional concubine and the pop star. Image via Weibo

An is one of the concubines in the 2011 series Empresses in the Palace, which is also available on Netflix. The TV show reimagines the court of the Qing Dynasty’s Yongzheng Emperor, especially dramas among his tens of concubines. Played by actress Tao Xinran, An was born into an average family and later selected to be part of the emperor’s harem.

Among her talents are singing and perfumery; however, she eventually uses her skill with chemicals to cause other concubines to miscarry. Though An’s story is definitely darker, many see a parallel between her and Rihanna due to the latter’s departure from her musical career to focus on beauty products.

Since her debut in 2005, Rihanna has released countless chart-topping songs, including ‘Umbrella,’ ‘We Found Love,’ and ‘Stay,’ winning nine Grammy Awards and 33 nominations in the process.

However, it has been six years since Anti, Rihanna’s most recent album. Instead, she has been focusing on her cosmetics company, Fenty Beauty.

The artist did release a single recently. On October 28 this year, Rihanna returned to music with ‘Lift Me Up,’ a song from the upcoming Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Despite Rihanna’s musical revival, netizens believe she and An have common ground as singers-turned-scientists (‘scientists’ in a very vague sense). The odd comparison, encompassed by the tag ‘Isn’t An Lingrong just Rihanna?’ (#安陵容不就是蕾哈娜吗#), has more than 170 million total views on Weibo.

Many fans of the historical drama are impressed by the comparison. One Weibo user wrote, “I have to admire the thought processes of netizens. Looking at it this way, An Lingrong and Rihanna are indeed very similar.”

Another commented, “I was stunned when I saw this topic, but after reading through it, I’m persuaded.”

Some, though, disagree with netizens’ likening of the two. One person wrote, “An Lingrong had to change careers because she lost her beautiful voice after being poisoned by another concubine, [but] Rihanna is excellent.”

Empresses in the Palace has been enjoying a resurgence as of late. Recently, milk tea brand HeyTea launched two themed drinks and other merch for the show’s 11th anniversary. Moreover, a group of retirees went viral this autumn for producing a 15-minute video based on the hit drama.

Cover image by the author

Join the Conversation
Write comment

Pour yourself a stiff one, we'll be with you in a minute