The right excellent Rihanna declared a national hero by Barbados

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The other day, Kaiser reported on the head of state changeover in Barbados. During her report, she spoke about Rihanna attending and her new title of national hero of Barbados. Rihanna was acknowledged, thanked Prime Minister Mia Mottley and greeted the other distinguished guests, including Prince Charles and fellow national hero, Garfield St. Aubrun Sobers. However, that was not Ambassador RiRi’s ceremony, that was just excellence acknowledging excellence. Rihanna was honored in her own ceremony on Wednesday where she received her medal and was able to convey her gratitude to the whole of Barbados. Rihanna is the 11th person to receive this honor and only the second woman.

On Wednesday, the singer was officially honored in a separate ceremony where she received a large medal emblazoned with the outline of Barbados and blew a kiss to the cheering crowd.

“This is a day that I will never, ever forget. It’s also a day that I never saw coming,” she said in a brief speech in which she encouraged the youth to continue pushing Barbados 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.”

It is the first time in more than 20 years that Barbados has bestowed a national hero honor: The last person to receive the title was former cricket player Garfield St. Aubrun Sobers. A total of 11 people have now been honored since 1998, including a slave who led a rebellion and the first person of African descent to serve in the island’s Parliament.

When Mottley presented Rihanna early Tuesday before the official ceremony, she noted that the pop star came from humble origins and was born less than a mile from where the ceremony was taking place.

She congratulated the singer for “commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence with her creativity, her discipline and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth.”

[From The Associated Press]

Style notes: for her ceremony, Rihanna wore a cream mini dress under a matching tux jacket with a cutout back and roman high-heeled sandals. I really can’t imagine what this must have meant to Rihanna. She is such a proud Bajan and to be recognized by them in this way, I don’t doubt this recognition stands out above any other she’s received. I’m glad she had her own separate ceremony in which she received her medal. Given there have only ever been 11 national heroes, it seems appropriate that they should receive their own space. But I also think it fitting that Rihanna’s recognition was included in the change of power ceremony alongside Mr. Sobers. It was a historic moment steeped in significance and Barbados handled every part of it was grace and dignity.

Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty is now officially titled “the right excellent.” I mean, we always knew she was, but it’ll be nice to have that embossed in gold for time immemorial. Congratulations the right excellent Ambassador Rihanna.

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15 Responses to “The right excellent Rihanna declared a national hero by Barbados”

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  1. BUBS says:

    I just love Riri. She’s someone many of us can relate to. She’s battled her demons and come out on top. Proud of her!

  2. Nev says:

    Go on Rihanna.

  3. Mina_Esq says:

    Her wiki page still hasn’t been changed to reflect her new title. I hope she uses it!


    I love her so much. Her style, her energy, her empire – but even more than that, her sense of humor. Did y’all see those DMs when a fan asked her about the latest pregnancy rumor? “Haaaa stawwwwp! You ain’t come to the first 10 baby showers! Y’all breed me every year dammit lol.”

    Also I just realized she was 16 when pon de replay came out 🤯

  5. Char says:

    Get rid of colonizers and have the right excellent Rihanna as a symbol? Double win for Barbados! May their republic live in independence and democracy for centuries to come!

  6. Ry says:

    Good on her but…national hero? I bet a lot of single mothers would deserve that title more.

  7. Ry says:

    Good on her but…national hero? I bet a lot of single mothers would deserve that title more. They just picked someone famous from their island. It’s all politics.

    • Calypso says:

      They didn’t just pick someone famous from their island.

      Rihanna has been a cultural ambassador for Barbados. Her image has always been solidly tied to her Barbadian roots (her first album was literally Music of the Sun), she has never toned down her accent, and remains unapologetically Barbadian. She infuses her music with dancehall, reggae, and patois. How many times was she criticized for celebrating carnival by people who aren’t part of the culture?

      People from Barbados are PROUD of her because she represents Bajan Culture on a global, worldwide, MASSIVE scale on top of being a groundbreaking artist.

    • nb says:

      lol, really? Yes single mothers are heroes too but this has more to do with her coming from nothing, making it to the top and never forgetting about her home country. She has always been heavily involved in Barbados even after she moved to the US and has been a big advocate for them including helping them get much needed tourism. She celebrates and teaches others about her heritage. They are honoring her for that and I think it’s pretty damn cool.

    • Monica says:

      I confess (to my shame) that before Rihanna I didn’t know much more about Barbados than “rum.” She deserves this.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      She helped build the hospital and is a cultural ambassador.

  8. Dizza says:

    Celebrating a woman with a history of racism she hasn’t apologized for is not a good look.

  9. Lunasf17 says:

    Love this! Rihanna is a legend! Her brand of royalty is the kind I can get behind.

  10. NewKay says:

    I have Bajan roots and am so proud that Barbabdos made this move. 100 percent it’s time to shake off the colonizing roots. The government also made the decision unilaterally which I appreciate because so many people are still wrapped up in mental
    Slavery- this could not have been done if it was left to a vote.