Rihanna Honors Caribbean Roots in Speech for Vanguard Award at 2016 VMAs

rihanna vmas-minNews Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Aug. 29, 2016 — The girl from the islands proved she has not forgotten her roots as she received one of the highest awards in the music industry at the Video Music Awards at Madison Square Gardens in New York City last night.

Barbados-born star Rihanna received the “Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award” at the VMAs Sunday night after an epic four performances at the event and then gushed about her country and the Caribbean region as a whole.

While rapper Drake, who introduced and presented the award to her was gushing on how he fell in love with her at 22, Rihanna took the mike to dedicate her success to her country and the region.

“When I think about the Video Vanguard Award and receiving this tonight, all I can think of is my country,” the 29-year-old singer-turned-actress and entrepreneur said.

“They’re gonna be so proud. This is the first Vanguard to land anywhere close to my country.”

She also noted that while her success “started as my dream,” now “it is not my own.”

“It’s my family’s, it’s my fans’, it’s my country’s, it’s the Caribbean’s as a whole,” she added.

Drake for his part insisted that what’s most impressive about Rihanna isn’t the endlessness of stats, awards and accomplishments but because “she succeeds by being something in which no one in this industry does which is by being herself – the same girl from Barbados surrounded by the same friends.”

Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, in Saint Michael Barbados to a Barbados-born father and a Guyana-born mother. She was raised in Bridgetown, the country’s capital. Rihanna, nicknamed RiRi, first entered the music industry by recording demo tapes under the direction of record producer Evan Rogers in 2003. She later signed a recording contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for its then-president, hip hop producer and rapper Jay Z. Rihanna’s first two studio albums, “Music of the Sun” (2005) and “A Girl Like Me” (2006) charted on the top 10 of the U.S. Billboard 200 and respectively produced the singles “Pon de Replay” and “SOS.”

The Video Vanguard Award pays tribute to a musician’s decade-long impact on music, pop culture, fashion, film and philanthropy. The honor has previously been bestowed upon the late great Michael Jackson as well as Madonna, Britney Spears and Kanye West.

Rihanna performed four times at the VMAs prior to taking the stage last night to accept her Vanguard Award. She kicked off the show with “We Found Love” and “Only Girl (In The World).” Her second performance recreated the packed club of her “Work” video, also featuring “Rude Boy” and “What’s My Name.” Rihanna was front and center once again for her third performance with a triumvirate of her most badass trap jams: “Needed Me,” “Pour It Up” and “B—- Better Have My Money.” For her final set she performed her ballad “Stay” and then “Diamonds,” with a full live orchestra behind her.

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