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Rihanna, on her LOUD Tour, in Belfast, 2011

"S&M" is a song by Barbadian singer Rihanna (pictured) from her fifth studio album, Loud (2010). The song was released in January 2011 as the fourth single from the album. Written by the American songwriter Ester Dean in collaboration with its producers StarGate and Sandy Vee, "S&M" borrows from Depeche Mode's 1984 song "Master and Servant". The lyrics make reference to sadomasochism, bondage, and fetishes. The song reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaked at number one in Australia, Canada, and Poland, and reached the top five in France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the UK. Critical response was mixed; some praised its sound and composition while others criticized its overtly sexual lyrics. An accompanying music video that portrays softcore sadomasochistic acts and fetishes was banned in many countries and restricted to nighttime television in others. Critics complimented Rihanna's sensuality and the vibrant colors. Photographer David LaChapelle filed a lawsuit alleging that the video incorporates ideas from his photographs. (Full article...)

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Fantasia, also known as lab el baroud ("the gunpowder play"), is a traditional exhibition of horsemanship in the Maghreb region of North Africa. A group of horse riders, all wearing traditional clothes, charge along a straight path at the same speed before firing into the sky using old muskets or muzzle-loading rifles at the end of the charge. It is considered to symbolize a strong relationship between the man and the horse.

Photograph: Maxim Massalitin

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