Barbados became the world’s newest republic. The Prime Minister’s first act officially declared the island’s most famous citizen, Rihanna, a national hero.
The Umbrella singer commanded “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,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the assembled dignitaries at the Pride of Nationhood celebrations on Tuesday.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we, therefore, present to you the designee for the national hero of Barbados, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty,” Mottley said inviting the singer up to stand alongside her for the honor.
“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,” she said, with a nod to the singer’s hit Diamonds.
Rihanna grew up in a troubled home in Barbados and was propelled to fame after Evan Rogers recognized her talents. She also extended her musical success into a make-up and fashion empire, with the success more than other megastars such as Madonna and Beyoncé.
Mottley said the government chose to honor Rihanna as the first national hero selected by the new republic as a “signal to the world.”
The independence ceremony of Barbados was closed to the general public amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which was relaxed to allow the citizens to enjoy specific festivities, including fireworks displays and many more. Britain’s Prince Charles was the guest of honor, who acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery” the island endured under colonial rule.