Before we get to Rihanna’s new honour, let’s take a step back.
Barbados is a small Caribbean island country and a former British colony which gained independence in 1966. After gaining independence, though, it remained tied to the British Crown. It retained a parliamentary model where the governor general is the head of state representing the Crown.
At Midnight as Monday became Tuesday, however, the country cut its ties to the British Monarchy and became a Republic. This marks the first time in nearly three decades that a former colony has removed the British monarch as head of state. The last nation to do so was the island of Mauritius in 1992.
Barbados’ former governor general, Sandra Mason, a 73-year-old former jurist, was sworn in as the first-ever president. The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, was present at the festivities. Superstar singer, fashion designer and business woman, Rihanna was also at the presidential inauguration.
Rihanna was honoured by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley, being named “national hero of Barbados, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty”. Motley told Rihanna, “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.”
In 2008, Rihanna was named one of Barbados’ cultural ambassadors, where she did promotional work for the island’s tourism industry. The street in Bridgetown where she grew up was named “Rihanna Drive” in 2016. Then, in 2018, Rihanna was appointed as an ambassador for her home country.