Rihanna Named Barbados National Hero in One of Nation's First Acts as Republic

Singer and businesswoman Rihanna can add another title to her ever-growing resume: "the right excellent."

In one of its first acts since becoming a Republic, the nation of Barbados has designated Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, as a national hero. She becomes the 11th person to be bestowed the title of "the right excellent" in the country's history, with the most recent honoree former cricket player and "world's greatest all-rounder" Garfield Sobers. Fenty was previously honored as an ambassador to the country in 2018.

The ceremony was held at Heroes Square in Bridgetown, less than a mile from the singer's childhood home. Prime Minister Mia Mottley honored Fenty 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."

Prince Charles was also in attendance during the ceremony. The country had previously pledged allegiance to the United Kingdom and Queen Elizabeth II until 2020, when it announced plans to become a Republic.

Sandra Mason was elected the country's first president in October. Queen Elizabeth II congratulated Barbados on achieving independence, while Prince Charles denounced his country's role in establishing Barbados as a slave nation.

Rihanna has won nine Grammys and also established her Fenty brand of highly regarded makeup and lingerie.

"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," Mottley said, referencing "Diamonds," one of Rihanna's hit songs. "God bless you, my dear."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Rihanna and Mason
Barbadian President Dame Sandra Mason and Rihanna, honored as a national hero, attend the presidential inauguration ceremony at Heroes Square on November 30, 2021, in Bridgetown, Barbados. Photo by Toby Melville - Pool/Getty Images

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

Before her, top Barbadian government officials encouraged her to join them at a crucial moment in her nation's history.

"You can come my dear," Mottley told the multi-Grammy winner.

"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," the prime minister said.

Rihanna raised her palm to her heart as she stood next to Mottley and said thank you before they walked offstage and briefly put their arms around each other.

Rihanna's Savage X Fenty lingerie brand has been praised for being inclusive, hiring women of all shapes, sizes and colors for her fashion shows.

Right Excellent Ceremony
Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley (left) and President Dame Sandra Mason (right) honor Rihanna as a national hero during the presidential inauguration ceremony at Heroes Square in Bridgetown, Barbados on November 30, 2021. Jeff J Mitchell PA via AP