Rihanna has been named a National Hero in Barbados, as the Caribbean nation became the world’s newest republic on 30th November 2021, 55 years after it broke free of the UK and began self-governing.
The pop icon, real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was given the honour as her home country changed its constitution, bringing to an end a 396-year period during which the reigning British monarch was the island’s head of state. Barbados declared independence in 1966, but Queen Elizabeth II continued to sit in a ceremonial role until this week.
President Sandra Mason was sworn in at the transition ceremony, with Prime Minister Mia Mottley quoting Rihanna’s lyrics during the event, which was held in the capital, Bridgetown: “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your words, by your actions and to do credit wherever you shall go.”
Prince Charles witnessed the formalities, and acknowledged Britain’s role in the “appalling atrocity of slavery”.
Rihanna was appointed an official ambassador to culture and youth in Barbados in 2018, indicative of the high esteem the singer has long been held in. She currently lays claim to global record sales in excess of 250million units, placing her among the most successful music artists in history, with 14 number one and 31 top ten singles in the US, and 30 top ten entries in the UK charts.
This is before we mention nine Grammy Awards, and six Guinness World Records. Also known as an actress, fashion designer, and businesswoman, as of 2021 she is the wealthiest female musician on the planet, with an estimated net worth of $1.7billion. In 2012, Rihanna established the Clara Lionel Foundation, named after her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The non-profit donated $5million to worldwide relief during the outbreak of coronavirus last spring.