Rihanna has been in the spotlight since the mid-2000s and is now one of the leading businesswomen of her era by way of both her hit sings and the popular Savage X Fenty fashion line. On Monday (Nov. 29), Rihanna was bestowed with the honor of national hero in her native Barbados, adding to the revelry of the island nation becoming the world’s newest republic.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley offered glowing words to the 33-year-old artist born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, honoring her for providing continued service and philanthropy to her homeland.
“Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership,” Prime Minister Mottley said. “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation.”
In an overnight ceremony that featured the naming of the nation’s first president in Dame Sandra Mason, Barbados achieved status as a parliamentary republic nearly 400 years after being named a British colony and 55 years after its independence from the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth II was ceremonially removed as head of state to begin the transition that was first announced last year.
Rihanna, who did not perform at the lavish event, looked stunning in a flowing orange dress and her hair regally braided and worn high as she donned a Black mask during the announcement of her joining the Order of National Heroes.
Appearing in Queen Elizabeth’s stead was heir apparent to the British Throne, Prince Charles, who delivered a speech decrying his nation’s presence in Barbados.
“From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” Prince Charles said.
“We the people must give Republic Barbados its spirit and its substance,” Mason said of the new republic in her address. “We must shape its future. We are each other’s and our nation’s keepers. We the people are Barbados.”
On Tuesday (Nov. 30), Rihanna attended another ceremony on the island, offering a brief speech after accepting a large medal that featured an image of the country.
“This is a day that I will never, ever forget. It’s also a day that I never saw coming,” Rihanna said. “I have traveled the world and received several awards and recognitions, but nothing, nothing compares to being recognized in the soil that you grew in.”
Since 2012, Rihanna’s nonprofit organization, The Clara Lionel Foundation, provides education and emergency preparedness assistance globally.
Congratulations to Rihanna.