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‘Shine Like a Diamond’: Barbados Makes Rihanna a National Hero, Second Woman to Hold Title

Rihanna is now a national hero of Barbados. The country made the declaration as it celebrated the removal of Queen Elizabeth II as head of state — becoming the first country in nearly three decades to do so.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people,” the country’s prime minister, Mia Mottley, presented the 33-year-old as a national hero of Barbados at a ceremony held in honor of the multihyphenate global superstar. “May you continue to shine like a diamond,” Mottley added, referencing Rihanna’s 2012 hit single “Diamonds.” 

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS – NOVEMBER 30: Rihanna, honored as a National Hero, attends the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony at Heroes Square on November 30, 2021 in Bridgetown, Barbados. The Prince of Wales arrived in the country ahead of its transition to a republic within the Commonwealth. This week, it formally removes Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and the current governor-general, Dame Sandra Mason, will be sworn in as president. (Photo by Toby Melville – Pool/Getty Images)

She added, “And bring honor to your nation by your words, by your actions, and to do credit wherever you shall go. God bless you, my dear.”

Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was born in Saint Michael and raised in the capital, Bridgetown. Through her contribution to the music and fashion industry and her philanthropic work, especially in her home country, the star rose to become one of Barbados’ notable figures.

“This is a day that I will never, ever forget. It’s also a day that I never saw coming,” the singer said in a brief speech during which she encouraged the youth to continue pushing the nation forward. “I have traveled the world and received several awards and recognitions, but nothing, nothing compares to being recognized in the soil that you grew in.” 

The honor is the latest prestigious title the billionaire has received from the island country. In 2018, the “Ocean’s Eight” star was appointed an official ambassador for culture and youth. Following her 2007 smash hit “Umbrella” that would solidify her ranking as one of the biggest pop stars, Barbados’ then prime minister David Thompson honored the actress with Rihanna Day, to occur annually. 

Fans of the singer were thrilled with the news, including one Twitter user who wrote, “She always stayed true to her roots and deserves every blessing that has come and will continue to come her way.” They added, “Right Honourable Robyn Rihanna Fenty, National Hero of Barbados and serving Ambassador.”

The “Loveeeeeee Song” musician now joins a very exclusive group of only ten other Barbadians to be selected as a national hero and the second woman to ever receive the honor after social and religious leader Sarah Ann Gill. Garfield Sobers, known as one of the greatest cricketers of all time, and now Rihanna, are the only living title holders. 

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