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Pop star Rihanna was a rock star for a night as she accepted the “Rock Star” award at BET’s 10th Annual Black Girls Rock! event. The Anti used her minutes on stage to thank the women who raised her, and the ones who look up to her.

As she stood on the stage draped in a mink coat that reached her ankles, Rihanna thanked the show’s creator Beverly Bond for developing a platform where Black women are celebrated for being just that, Black. She also took an opportunity encourage others to be themselves and no one else, saying:

“I believe God put us all here for a reason and we all have our purpose and we are here to fulfill our purpose individually,” Rihanna said. “I think the thing that’s kept me sane, the thing that’s kept me humble, the thing that’s kept me successful is being myself. I only know how to do that. This world is so big and it can be so confusing at times that you tend to forget and you tend to be so indented or tainted by society and the only thing that’s kept me going is being myself. And the minute you learn to love yourself you would not want to be anybody else.”

Through being interrupted by applause, Rihanna called her mother and grandmother the strongest Black women she knows and added that she one day hopes to raise a strong Black girl of her own.

In closing Rihanna offered:

“You know, role model isn’t the title they like to give me. But that’s why tonight is so important to me because I can inspire a lot of young women to be themselves and that is half the battle. I mean that is it. Just be yourselves, it’s the easiest thing to be. I love you guys, all girls rock, black girls, we just on another level.”

View Rihanna’s entire speech below.

Photo: screen shot

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