“I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit,” Rihanna, 27, told Vanity Fair for her November cover story.
Dolezal, 37, came under fire in June after her estranged parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, said their daughter was born white and went to extreme lengths to “disguise herself.”
“Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black?” Rihanna asked in the interview. “Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”
The civil rights activist was president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP and taught black studies at Eastern Washington University before the media frenzy erupted over the summer. She later resigned from the NAACP.
In an interview with VF in July, Dolezal explained why she continues to identify as black after losing a job and friends.
“It’s not something that I can put on and take off anymore,” Dolezal said of her appearance and persona. “Like I said, I’ve had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [was] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all, but I’m not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be – but I’m not.”