Sometimes guys will like my picture on Instagram or they might text me from time to time. Sometimes they even want to hang out with me and if I’m lucky, they’ll buy me dinner. But not one of them has ever bought me a billboard.
Last Sunday, Drake—looking as sweet as can be, if not a little overdressed in a tuxedo—presented Rihanna, his probably-girlfriend, with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards. And a few days prior to that interaction he had a billboard erected in her honor that read: “Congratulations to Rihanna from Drake and everyone at OVO” (his label and clothing brand).
Clearly, Rihanna and I don’t have much in common: I can’t imagine that @badgalriri clutches her iPhone anxiously awaiting a notification alerting her that “@champagnepapi liked your photo” or that she even cares if he did.
But of course, he cares.
Drake loves Rihanna. He has since he was 22, as the now almost 30-year-old rapper professed at the VMAs, to which she replied with a smile and an eye-roll. He gushed that he loved the woman who “hasn’t changed from day one,” to which she replied with a dab.
And Drake is right: Rihanna hasn’t changed. During the course of her career, all Rihanna has wanted to do is party and get paid—which she has. She’s been pleading with DJs around the world to “turn up the music,” and then politely requesting of them: “Please don’t stop the music.” She’s just been looking for bitches to pay her what they owe her so she can “pour it up” at the strip club. And good for her; she owns everything she does.
Except, from the looks of it, it appears that Rihanna’s image and lifestyle has come at the expense of Drake’s happiness. Think about it: For nearly a decade, while Drake has been rapping about how sad he is, this nice Jewish boy from Toronto has been simultaneously listening to Rihanna sing about sex, money, and more sex … and yet he hasn’t stopped loving her. Unrequited love? Maybe.
In 2010, when rumors that the two were romantically linked started circulating, Drake told MTV News: “She made me feel small; she made me feel nervous. It just put me back to the Acura in Toronto, feeling like Aubrey Graham, not Drake.”
Yes, Drake loves Rihanna even though Rihanna likes Drake. But maybe that’s what love is. Maybe it’s trusting that her dab was code for “I love you, too.”
Daniela is a journalist based in Brooklyn, originally from Texas. You can follow her on Instagram if you like.