Singing sensation Rihanna was declared a 'national hero' by her home country of Barbados, as it became the newest republic on Tuesday, removing Queen Elizabeth as the head of state. The republican celebrations in the Bridgetown capital, which coincided with Barbados' independence anniversary, were attended by Rihanna, among other dignitaries.
The 33-year-old Diamonds singer took to the stage as Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in an address, "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, may you continue to shine like a diamond."
Barbadian super star Robyn @rihanna Fenty will be Barbados' newest National Hero!— Visit Barbados (@Barbados) November 30, 2021
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced that global icon Rihanna will be conferred with the honour of National Hero of Barbados! #MyBarbados #LoveBarbados #VisitBarbados #CelebratingWhoWeAre pic.twitter.com/HZrjjnDRLy
Rihanna was named Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary by Barbados back in 2018, tasked with promoting facets like education and tourism. The best-selling singer was recognised for her "patriotism" in the way that she gives back to her country and "continues to treasure the island as her home."
Presently the world's richest woman musician, Rihanna hails from Saint Michael in Barbados and grew up in Bridgetown. Her parents divorced when she was a teen and she has often been open about her troubled childhood. More on her here.
As Britain moves out of power from the Caribbean island, Barbados will become a women-led country with President Dame Sandra Mason, who replaces Queen Elizabeth, and PM Mottley. The Queen's son Charles, Prince of Wales, was among the attendees of the handover event acknowledged slavery, brought in by British colonisers to Barbados in the 17th century and a system of oppression on the island for centuries, as a "stain" on history.
The Queen, meanwhile, sent the new republic her good wishes for "happiness, peace and prosperity in the future."
Barbados gained independence in 1966 with Queen Elizabeth holding the title of the Queen of Barbados. In October this year, Mason was elected as the President ahead of the country becoming a republic. While Barbados is cutting its colonial ties, it will continue to be within the Commonwealth, BBC reports.