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“Your Body Hasn’t Done Anything Wrong”: Rihanna Tells the Moving Stories of Breast Cancer Survivors


Rihanna. Photo: Getty

To mark Breast Cancer Awareness month, Rihanna is sharing her Savage X Fenty platform with three survivors and thrivers. Cayatanita, Ericka and Nykia are incredibly strong women, who were diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer, and who faced unfair disparities within the healthcare system owing to their age and race. By handing over the microphone to the trio, Rih’s Savage X Fenty customers can learn about each individual’s self-advocacy and support systems, while promoting awareness and raising up underrepresented members of the Black community.

Cayatanita, who starred in the Savage X Fenty Volume 2 show, began blogging about her experience, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32 in 2018 – seven years to the day of her cardiovascular diagnosis. “It was pretty devastating for me. But I knew that I was going to go ahead and push through,” she says of her aggressive triple-negative cancer and the lack of research, funding and solutions for the condition. “Sharing a little bit about what was going on – I felt it was important. I wanted to make sure I created healthy relationships with people… I have my list of who I check in on, and they check on me… They’re my queens… They make me feel confident and empowered.”

Also Read: Rihanna’s Latest Fenty Collection Pays Homage to Activism and the Youth

For Ericka, who found out she had bilateral breast cancer (two types of cancer in her body) at the age of 28, the process made her see herself differently. “Your body hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s important for you to appreciate the body that you’re in for getting you where you are right now,” she says, addressing others who have gone through a similar journey. “That was really moving to me, because it wasn’t about beauty, it wasn’t, ‘Oh, I love myself.’ It was, ‘I appreciate the vessel that has carried me.’ I really give all kudos to Black femmes for holding me down.”

Nykia was diagnosed in April at the age of 25 after her third visit to the doctor. She had repeatedly been prescribed antibiotics even though she had a lump in her breast that was an invasive ductal carcinoma – a hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer – growing. Her breast was the size of a small watermelon before she was taken seriously. Accordingly, Nykia is using the Savage X Fenty spotlight to tell women to keep pushing to be heard. “Somebody will listen; whether it’s the first person, or the second person, or even the third person – some women have a fourth or even a fifth opinion before they are diagnosed,” she urges. “Definitely keep going.”

Rihanna will donate a portion of the net proceeds from the Savage X Fenty Breast Cancer Awareness lingerie, plus the October and November capsule collections, to the Clara Lionel Foundation, which works to support members of the Black community who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The line modeled by Cayatanita, Ericka and Nykia includes muted loungewear and soft cotton underwear sets that are comfortable base layers for anyone to wear. As always, inclusivity comes first when it comes to Rih’s Fenty family.

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