Barbados has declared Rihanna a ‘national hero’ as the country marked becoming a republic.
Queen Elizabeth II has now been removed as Barbados’s head of state, 396 years after the nation became part of the British Empire and 55 years after gaining independence from the UK. Dame Sandra Mason has since been sworn in as the Caribbean island’s first-ever president.
The Umbrella singer, who was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, was awarded the honour by Prime Minister Mia Mottley during an event to celebrate the country parting ways with its former monarch.
‘On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you the designee for national hero for Barbados, ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty. May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your works, by your actions,’ the PM said, as per Sky News.
Rihanna is the country’s 11th national hero, but only the second woman to ever receive the title, thereby becoming The Right Honourable Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
She’s also held the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados since 2018. In 2008, former prime minister David Thompson also declared February 22 ‘Rihanna Day’, which Barbadians mark every year, although they don’t get a day off their work or school.
The honour has seen hundreds of congratulatory messages sent to Rihanna on social media. ‘Rihanna’s career and life trajectory has been insanely incredible. Like I just can’t believe my sis is doing THIS Blessings, hard work, authenticity, and her advocating for herself… look at what Rihanna made,’ one user wrote.
‘Rihanna is simultaneously a global pop star, ambassador of education, and panty salesman. I know that’s right,’ another wrote. ‘Not my girl being a whole national hero. Right Honourable Robyn Rihanna Fenty, I’m so proud of my queen,’ a third wrote.
The Queen sent her ‘good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future’ while hoping for the ‘continuation of the friendship’ between the UK and Barbados.
Prince Charles, speaking at the ceremony, said, ‘From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our histories, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.
‘Emancipation, self-government and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.’
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