This is not a drill. It’s been roughly a week since the make-up mogul and singer posted an Instagram story with a Sainsbury’s Bag for Life within the frame, which set our little British brains ablaze. One eagle-eyed follower tweeted that the fact that she owns and flaunts the 10p bag makes her truly “one of the people”. He’s right. However, among many revelations, including the fact that the only thing she fears is “being afraid”, a recent New York Times profile revealed that she’s actually been living in London recently.
Yes, Rihanna lives in London and she has been walking around, perusing these streets, breathing in the same polluted air as you and me. The 31-year-old was hanging out in Dark Sugars in Shoreditch eating vanilla ice cream as she told an interviewer she likes to walk “around the block”. “When I go walking, I try to keep it a little incognito,” she added. So, we’re also adding invisibility to her many talents because how did she pass through Shoreditch without pandemonium? Rihanna ended the conversation by explaining that rather than her gigantic fortune, it’s all the little things that make her happy. “Like going to the grocery store,” she said. “You know, there’s a cute little Jamaican market near where I live right now.”
This closing line should remind us to be happy with what we have, but all I heard is a clue. So here’s all the Caribbean markets, that may have some Jamaican vendors, that we’re going to start hanging out at.
It may be wishful thinking but Rihanna just gives me a South London vibe. With hotspots like Buster Mantis and the underground dive bar Bunker, perhaps this area piqued her interests. This market is currently undergoing a face lift, but it’s still not got as heavy footfall as some of the more high profile stalls in the city. Maybe that’s how she’s stayed hidden?
No Jamaican market in London has been memorialised more than the likes of Brixton’s. Perhaps since Eddy Grant sung that he was going to “rock down to Electric Avenue”, Rihanna felt like she should follow suit. Given the links between the South West London hub and Caribbean immigrants, it might feel a little more like home for the bajan superstar. I can even imagine bumping into her in Satay Bar drinking some cocktails while listening to the fire R&B playlist. Or, maybe she’s more of a 1am KFC girl, sleuthing around Brixton road on the way home from dancing among Clapham-types at Prince of Wales, or hipsters at Phonox.
Ridley Road Market
Dalston is edgy, and so is she. If she can stomach living right next to the stench of fish on ice then perhaps this is her chosen haunt. The streets around it are lined with clubs and we know she likes to party. Plus, this Aunty Diane Abbott’s jurisdiction. It would only stand to reason that as someone who puts in overtime to empower black women that she’d settle down in the same area as Britain’s first black MP. A lot of our Jamaican nans still shop at Ridley, despite the encroachment of hipsters.
Last year, the Metro reported that Rihanna may have purchased a mansion near Paul McCartney in North West London. Perhaps she’s positioned herself close to Notting Hill so she can dip into carnival for a quick whine and dash before her cover is blown. Although this market has been largely gentrified I’m sure there’s probably one merchant left selling plantain and rice and peas at an inflated price.
Shepherds Bush Market
You can buy everything at this market: food, furniture, candles, suitcases and those huge granny pants that we’d love to wear on our periods but can’t quite imagine Rihanna taking a shine to. One of our favourite stalls is a haberdashery outlet full of colourful, shiny ribbons, any button you can think of and zips – plus the “hotep” stall in the covered market which sells black conspiracy theory books and wooden jewellery. But it will be the smell of food, like roti (from the legendaryRoti Jupa) and jerk chicken fromStreet Feed that will tempt Rihanna. She’s visited Ochi in Shepherd’s Bush at least twice and has beenmemorialised on their wall.