Singer Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, now gets to add “National Hero” to her already impressive resumé.
The “Diamonds” singer, who was born in Saint Michael, Barbados, was awarded the honor by Prime Minister Mia Mottley as Barbados celebrated its independence. She is the second woman to receive the honor of National Hero of Barbados, making her official title now The Right Honourable Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
In the capital of Bridgetown, where Rihanna was raised, Mottley declared, “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.”
She continued, “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions.”
In 2008, former Prime Minister David Thompson had declared February 22 as “Rihanna Day,” which Barbadians celebrate every year. In 2018, the “Umbrella” singer was given the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.
Barbados Has Officially Declared Its Independence
Although the Caribbean island nation declared independence from the UK in 1966, it continued to recognize Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch. England first colonized Barbados in 1627 and used it as a stop on the slave trade route.
As of Monday, November 30, Barbados has officially declared itself a republic and severed ties with Queen Elizabeth II. Dame Sandra Mason, 72, has been sworn in as the country’s first president, ousting Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.
Mason had previously been the nation’s Governor General, also known as the Queen’s Representative, and will serve as a primarily symbolic figurehead behind Prime Minister Mia Mottley. However, Barbados will still remain a part of the 54-member Commonwealth that consists of mostly former British territories.
The Queen Sends Her Regards, Prince Charles Attends The Ceremony
Prince Charles also attended the ceremony in order to preserve international relations between the two countries.
He stated, “The creation of this Republic offers a new beginning, but it also marks a point on a continuum — a milestone on the long road you have not only traveled, but which you have built. 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.”
He added, “Emancipation, self-government and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides. Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon.”
Queen Elizabeth II sent “good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and stressed the “continuation of the friendship” between the two countries.
The crowd burst into cheers when Prince Charles said that he would always consider himself a friend of Barbados. He concluded his address by saying:
“Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story, adding to the treasury of past achievement, collective enterprise and personal courage which already fill its pages. Yours is a story in which every Barbadian, young and old, can take the greatest pride – inspired by what has come before them and confident about what lies ahead.”
Check out the video of Rihanna accepting the honor below!
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