In the photo, the 24-year-old singer is seen sitting on the shoulders of a bodyguard. On the man's head is a white powder that many are speculating is cocaine. Rihanna appears to be cutting up the powder.
In another photo, Rihanna, who was recently named as one of TIME magazine's most influential people, appears with what resembles a marijuana joint. Rihanna posted a bizarre caption with the white powder photo: "Memories don't live like people do #coachella."
The photos have since been taken down. The story was originally broken by MTVUK, a fact not lost on Rihanna. Clearly outraged by the network's post, she called MTVUK a (very) nasty slur. Earlier she posted, "I'm crazy, and I don't pretend to be anything else." Whether that was in response to the controversial photos is unclear. It appears that the original MTVUK post has also been removed.
The photo has set off a firestorm of responses online, and not just from the singer. One fan wrote, "I love her music, not her lifestyle. Hope she gets this under control before we have her funeral on TV like Whitney Houston." Another wrote, "Rihanna needs to fix up! She's meant to be a role model for loads of girls around the world."