New Republic Barbados Declares ‘Diamond’ Rihanna National Hero

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In the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, Rihanna smiled under her face mask as she heard her name called, but she hesitated before standing up.

Top Barbadian government leaders had urged her to join them at a critical juncture in the country’s history.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley informed the multi-Grammy winner, “You can come my dear.”

As the island bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and celebrated becoming a republic for the first time in history, Rihanna was named a national hero by the Barbadian authorities and given the title “the proper wonderful.”

“On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we thus present to you Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, the designee for the national hero of Barbados,” the prime minister remarked. “May you continue to shine brightly like a diamond, bringing respect to your country by your words and acts, and doing credit wherever you go.” “God bless you, my dear,” says the narrator. Before they walked offstage and momentarily put their arms around one other, Rihanna raised her palm to her heart and murmured thank you as she stood next to Mottley.

Rihanna
Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, left, and President of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason, right, honor Rihanna as a National Hero, during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, at Heroes Square, in Bridgetown, Barbados, Tuesday, November 30, 2021. Photo: AP/Jeff J Mitchell PA

Rihanna greeted a number of people before returning to her seat, including Prince Charles. The artist was presented with a huge medal embossed with the outline of Barbados and blew a kiss to the ecstatic crowd in a separate ceremony on Wednesday. “This is one of those days that I will never forget.” It’s also a day I didn’t see coming,” she remarked in a brief speech encouraging the youth to keep pushing Barbados forward. “I’ve toured the world and gotten numerous prizes and accolades, but nothing compares to being acknowledged in your own backyard.”

It’s the first time in more than 20 years that Barbados has honored a national hero: the previous recipient was former cricketer Garfield St. Aubrun Sobers. Since 1998, 11 persons have been recognized, including a slave who led a rebellion and the first African-American to serve in the island’s legislature.

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