‘This has broken all our hearts’: candlelit vigil for Brianna Ghey held in Leicester

By Shaikha Rahimi

A candlelit vigil was held in the city centre to remember transgender teenager Brianna Ghey, who was stabbed to death in Cheshire earlier this month

Brianna’s vigil in Leicester.

Mourners gathered at the Clock Tower in Leicester on Saturday to pay tribute to murdered 16-year-old Brianna Ghey.

Vigils have been held across the UK in memory of Brianna, a transgender girl from Birchwood in Warrington, who was found with fatal stab wounds on a path in Linear Park, in Culcheth, Cheshire on Saturday, February 11.

The organiser of the Leicester vigil, Abi – who did not want to share her full name – told Leicestershire Press: “The vigil gave people from Leicester’s trans community the opportunity to pay tribute to Brianna and grieve together.

“The death of Brianna has broken all our hearts, especially of those who are the same age as her. The healing starts now. We won’t forget her and we won’t let hate towards us win.”

Local community comes together to honour and remember Brianna.

Bouquets of flowers were left by the Clock Tower. Many of the well-wishers held signs with messages to Brianna. One read: “Rest in pride.” Another said: “Trans rights are human rights.”

Among those who were present was Zak Fiken, a 21-year-old student at DMU. He told Leicestershire Press: “What we saw happen to Brianna was abhorrent and beyond comprehension. Above all else, she was a girl with her whole life ahead of her, which has now been taken.

“The trans community are some of the most marginalised in our society, and transphobia is becoming increasingly mainstream, Even at the vigil we heard transphobic abuse being shouted at us. Every line used against the trans community today was used against the gay community in the 80s.

“We will continue to fight for trans rights, and let Brianna be the last person to be killed.”

Dozens lit candles to remember the 16-year-old.

A boy and a girl, both aged 15, have been charged with Brianna’s murder. They appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday, February 15, where a trial date was fixed for Monday, July 10.

Following her tragic death, Brianna’s family paid an emotional tribute to her, describing Brianna as “strong and fearless.”

They said that a “massive hole” had been left in their family after her death. The full statement issued through Cheshire police said: “Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister.”

Candlelit vigil in Leicester for Brianna Ghey, 16, who was stabbed to death in Cheshire

By Shaikha Rahimi

Many similar vigils have been planned across the UK

Brianna Ghey (Image: Cheshire police handout)

Leicester will join cities across the UK in paying tribute to transgender teenager Brianna Ghey, who was fatally stabbed in a park.

A candlelit vigil in memory of the 16-year-old will be held at the Clock Tower in the city centre at 5.30pm on Saturday. It is one of many vigils being held throughout Britain to honour her memory.

Brianna, a Year 11 pupil from Birchwood, Warrington, was found on a path in Linear Park, in Culcheth, Cheshire, last Saturday. Police said she had been stabbed several times.

A boy and girl, both aged 15 and from Warrington, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at the Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday after being charged with murder. 

The provisional trial date has been set for July 10.

Vigils organised by members of the LGBTQ+ community have been held in cities such as London, Glasgow, and Belfast. Leicester’s vigil for Brianna has been organised by a number of groups, including Enough is Enough Leicester.

Following her tragic death, Brianna’s family paid an emotional tribute to her, describing Brianna as “strong and fearless.”

They said that a “massive hole” had been left in their family after her death. The full statement issued through Cheshire Police said: “Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister.”

People attending the vigil on Saturday are encouraged to bring candles, signs and tributes.

Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show: grace, poise, and the perfect comeback

By Shaikha Rahimi

Rihanna, the show-stopping, mega-celebrity, has been long on hiatus. No tour since 2016, no live performance since the Grammys in 2018, and no album since ANTI in 2016. So by the nature of that, any appearance at any live event would be, well, show-stopping. In this case, game-stopping.

The beginning was electrifying – the kind of energy that sets the stage for the rest of the show. This was Rihanna’s perfect comeback, and it was clear from the start.

Not only did the performance mark her return to the stage after a long absence, but it also included a surprise announcement of her pregnancy, something no one knew before the performance.

Rihanna doesn’t typically perform full-force choreography, and that’s what her fans, the Navy, love about her. She performs with grace and composure, while exuding an air of cool confidence. She began the show by gazing directly at the camera with a smirk on her face, which had all the poise and power one would anticipate from a Rihanna show.

She stood on a giant LED-lit platform in oversized red overalls as Bitch Better Have My Money played, while a crew of dancers, dressed in white high-fashion hazmat suits, put on an energetic display of choreography. The monochromatic set and outfits were a clear nod to ANTI’s visuals.

It was fabulously futuristic and glam. And no one does that combination better than Rihanna.

Given the extent of Rihanna’s musical accomplishments, it was impossible to do justice to her full discography in a performance lasting less than 15 minutes. But the set powered through many of her greatest hits including Where Have You Been, Only Girl in the World, Diamonds, and We Found Love. It was a powerful mega-mix that served as a powerful reminder – she just has way too many good songs.

Rihanna isn’t only renowned for her music. The success of her brands, Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty, is a testament for her stand-out entrepreneurial pursuits. Over the past few years she has become more likely to promote her lingerie brand more than a new single. She probably has taken the stage in support of her brands more than she has performed her music live.

So being the entrepreneur she is, and knowing she was on one of the biggest stages there is, she conveniently found time to fix her make-up during her performance. Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime performance doubled as potentially the greatest Fenty advertisement ever.

Her performance was met with some callous critiques, with people saying it was underwhelming and muted. It wasn’t muted, it was precise and seamless. Rihanna’s halftime Super Bowl show had all the makings of a global spectacle. Every moment and element of her performance set the stage for an iconic pop culture moment, which is vital in an age where these moments are few and far between.

She was critiqued for not performing ground-breaking gymnastic choreography, but let’s be real – I think it’s OK for a pregnant woman to take things down a notch. Her ability to balance her passion with her commitment to keeping herself and her baby healthy and safe is admirable.

Interestingly, some critics drew comparisons between her performance and that of The Weeknd’s in the 2021 Super Bowl LV halftime show, who faced no criticism despite his increasingly static choreography. It’s problematic for critics to hold women to a higher standard of performance than men. This double standard highlights the continued prevalence of sexism in the entertainment industry.

All the big names in the industry aspire to stand out, but Rihanna radiates originality with so much ease. Her halftime Super Bowl show was memorable and a perfect relaxed comeback that was befitting of the power that she exudes.

On the same giant LED-lit platform and alone in the sky, she was surrounded by a sea of mobile lights with fireworks overhead at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Rihanna didn’t need a guest appearance. She didn’t need to debut an unreleased song. She shined by herself and all we saw was star quality. The power and confidence of her performance embodied the grace and poise that she is renowned for, making it the perfect comeback.

Watch the full Super Bowl LVII Halftime performance here.