Rihanna Debuts ‘American Oxygen,’ Slams RFRA at March Madness Fest
Rihanna’s still-unreleased “American Oxygen” has been a staple in commercials promoting this year’s NCAA basketball tournament the past two months, and with the Final Four rolling into Indianapolis Saturday night, the singer finally debuted the entire “American Oxygen” during her headlining set at the March Madness Music Fest at the city’s White River State Park.
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“Breathe out, breathe in / This American oxygen / Every breath I breathe / Chasing this American dream / Respect for a nickel and dime / Turn it into an empire,” Rihanna sings in the atmospheric opening of the inspiring potential new album track. Along with “American Oxygen,” Rihanna also performed her recent singles “FourFiveSeconds” and “Bitch Better Have My Money” as well as hits “Rock Star 101,” “Stay,” “We Found Love” and set closer “Diamonds.”
Rihanna also used her headlining performance to slam Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Although the bill was amended to make it less discriminatory toward the LGBT community, Rihanna still unloaded on the RFRA in an expletive-laden tirade (via ONTD) prior to performing T.I.’s “Live Your Life.”
“Who’s feeling these new bullshit laws that they’re trying to pass over here? I say fuck that shit,” Rihanna told the crowd, inciting chants of “Fuck that shit.” “We’re just living our motherfucking lives. Indiana!” Although Rihanna’s March Madness performance was live-streamed, her Indiana comments were heavily censored upon broadcast.
Rihanna wasn’t the only March Madness fest performer to criticize the state for passing the RFRA: According to the Indianapolis Star, Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff also shared his “low opinion” of Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the same politician Miley Cyrus called an “asshole,” and onstage wore a shirt that read “Protect LGBTQ Hoosiers.” Antonoff also encouraged the crowd to donate to Freedom Indiana, a coalition fighting against the discriminatory nature of the RFRA.