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Barbados Officially Declares Rihanna A National Hero

·2-min read

Rihanna may already be the queen of many things, but now she’s officially a national hero.

Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley awarded the singer, beauty mogul and philanthropist with the honor of National Hero of Barbados during an overnight ceremony Monday night where the country was declared a republic for the first time.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you the designee for National Hero of Barbados, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty,” Mottley said at the event, held in Bridgetown, the nation’s capital.

The prime minister then referenced Rihanna’s 2012 song “Diamonds,” telling the singer: “May you continue to shine like a diamond, and bring honor to your nation, by your words, by your actions and to do credit wherever you shall go.”

Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Mottley awards Rihanna with the honor of National Hero during a ceremony to declare Barbados a republic in Bridgetown, Barbados, Nov. 30. (Photo: RANDY BROOKS via Getty Images)
Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Mottley awards Rihanna with the honor of National Hero during a ceremony to declare Barbados a republic in Bridgetown, Barbados, Nov. 30. (Photo: RANDY BROOKS via Getty Images)

Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was born in the St. Michael parish in Barbados. Over the years, the country has celebrated and recognized the extraordinary influence and philanthropy of the nine-time Grammy Award winner.

In 2018, Rihanna was appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Barbados. Ten years prior to that, she’d been appointed as one of the country’s cultural ambassadors.

Rihanna in 2012 founded the Clara Lionel Foundation, which supports and funds education, health and emergency response programs around the world. She received Harvard University’s humanitarian of the year award in 2017.

Harvard recognized her at the time for funding the “construction of a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown.”

Monday’s overnight ceremony in Bridgetown marked Barbados’ new status as a republic, concurrent with its 55th Independence Day on Nov. 30. The country officially removed the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth as its head of state, though it remains part of the Commonwealth.

Governor General Sandra Mason, who was elected the first president of Barbados last month, was sworn in early Tuesday.

Rihanna addressed an audience later on Tuesday, as seen in a video clip posted to Twitter.

“I’m so proud to be a Bajan. I’m going to be a Bajan ’til the day I die,” she said during her speech. “This is still the only place I’ve ever called home. I love Barbados. I love you guys.”

She also addressed Mottley, who was seated in the crowd: “Thank you so much for honoring me in this way. 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.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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