The singer and Fenty entrepreneur, who grew up on the island, attended the historic ceremony which cut ties with the British monarchy. The event celebrated the culture, history and achievements of Barbados through music, dance and spoken word.
On Wednesday, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley praised the ‘Diamonds’ singer after announcing she would be made a member of the Order of National Heroes. The 33-year-old received the title of “The Right Excellent Robyn Rihanna Fenty.”
“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your words, by your actions and to do credit wherever you shall go,” the PM said, quoting one of the singer’s best-selling songs.
Rihanna is now only the second woman in history to be given National Hero status, following religious leader Sarah Ann Gill, who died in 1866. She is also only one of two living Barbados National Heroes, alongside cricketer Sir Garfield.
The Prince of Wales was also in attendance, representing the UK at the ceremony. “I shall always consider myself a friend of Barbados,” he said. During his speech, he acknowledged Britain’s role in the “appalling atrocity of slavery.”
He added how he would “remain deeply committed to this very special country,” noting his Prince’s Trust International charity to support Barbados’young people.
Poet Cyndi Celeste epitomised the ceremony when she said: “Today, after successive governments have tried and failed to rekindle the flame, we finally raised the flag of a nation no longer clinging to colonial coat tails for its identity.
“And maybe, we’ve been so focused on searching for the problems that we do not recognise the opportunities we have been given… shedding the vestiges of a monarchy means we get to denounce the moniker of ‘little England’ and vest the powers of the state in every Barbadian citizen.”