Rihanna was always a queen. Now she's a national hero.
Barbados just confirmed what we've known all along.
Barbados just made official what we’ve all known for years: Rihanna is a national hero. As part of its first presidential inauguration since becoming a republic, the country did right by its most popular native in a ceremony led by the prime minister.
In October, Barbados elected Dame Sandra Mason as its first president since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1966. At the inauguration ceremony, Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley bestowed Rihanna with the honor of national hero, telling the Grammy Award-winning singer "may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions, and to do credit wherever you shall go.” The joy and pride radiating from Rihanna was obvious even behind a mask.
The title of national hero is Rihanna’s latest addition to the Barbados section of her Linkedin, along with cultural ambassador (2008) and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (2018). For the latter, she had a “specific responsibility for promoting education, tourism, and investment for the island,” according to a statement from the Barbados Government Information Office. Rihanna has done a lot to earn the title. Her Clara Lionel Foundation helped the country recover from a devastating Category 5 storm in 2019, she’s donated over $790,000 to the nation’s efforts to battle the coronavirus, spent Christmas with her boyfriend A$AP Rocky on the island, had a street named after her, shared her favorite Barbadian hangout spots with Vogue, and more.
Becoming the national hero of Barbados is the latest in a long list of things Rihanna is doing that do not include releasing music. It’s been almost six years since she released Anti, and during that time she has become nothing short of a cultural deity. She launched Fenty Beauty in 2017, and the cosmetic brand generated more than $500 million in sales in its first year. Just 8 months after founding Fenty Beauty, she decided to turn her sex appeal into a lingerie line called Savage x Fenty, and by February of this year, the company was valued at $1 billion, making Barbados’s pride and joy the wealthiest female musician in the world. But money doesn’t make someone a queen, the people do, and Rihanna has made sure to do right by her fans.
From casually celebrating someone’s birthday dinner to surprising a fan at a gas station in Barbados, Rihanna hasn’t let the heights she’s reached distance her from the people who got her there. Since bestowing us with the Anti masterpiece, Rihanna’s already massive Instagram following has more than tripled from 32.47 million to a whopping 112 million while routinely shattering the internet to pieces with some of the hottest photos known to mankind. She’s also used her platform to let fans in on her political activism, which has included “Fuck Trump” graffiti, stopping Trump rallies from playing her music, and reading the Alabama lawmakers who passed the controversial anti-abortion bill for filth. So, it’s no surprise many of her fans called for Rihanna to be the president of Barbados before Manson was elected.
Now, all that’s left is for Prime Minister Mottley to make good on her promise of bringing the country a museum dedicated to Rihanna, and the Rihanna Navy will be able to die happy. Well, a new album wouldn’t hurt either.