Rihanna was named a National Hero in her home country Barbados, the world’s new republic, the other day. Yesterday she was presented with her medal during a ceremony attended by, among others, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, and introduced as the “Right Excellent Robyn Rihanna Fenty”. 


Right and Excellent is, well, exactly right. Rihanna is her nation’s most high-profile ambassador, a global superstar, an advocate, a philanthropist, a mogul, a billionaire. And, as she says during her short remarks, receiving this acknowledgment from Barbados, even though she has “travelled the world and received several awards and recognitions, but nothing, nothing compares to being recognised in the soil that you grew in”. Rihanna is, in her words, “Bajan to the bone”. 


And it must be extra special that this happened now, as Barbados is beginning a new history, no longer with the Queen of England as its head of state. As much of the international news coverage has reported, Barbados said farewell to Queen Elizabeth II and pretty much on the same day declared RiRi a National Hero. There is a certain poetry to it, as the nation turns away from a woman whose ancestors only sought to plunder and pillage the very soil that produced the woman who is their newest National Hero. 

Rihanna’s gratitude and pride and delight are unmistakable. Look at her in these photos. She’s beaming, she’s levitating, she loves her home. And her home, clearly, loves her back.