Celebrating Black History Month: Rihanna

Hailey Almonte, Senior Editor

Black History Month is here and it is time to acknowledge and appreciate what Black celebrities and creators have accomplished and done for the industry. Rihanna, a Grammy-winning singer and businesswoman, has done so much and has inspired so many people in the years she has been in the spotlight. 

Robyn Rihanna Fenty, also known as Rihanna, was born on February 20th, 1988, making her 32 years old today. Rihanna was born in St. Michael Parish on the Carribean island of Barbados. Neither of Rihanna’s parents were as musically inclined as she was. Her mother, Monica Fenty, was an accountant, and her father, Ronald Fenty, was a warehouse supervisor. 

Rihanna’s childhood was impaired by her father’s addiction to alcohol and drugs, and her parents’ marital issues. When Rihanna was 14, her parents divorced. Rihanna turned to singing as an escape from the troubles at home.

But despite her struggles at home, Rihanna pursued her dream career of becoming a singer.

At age 16, Rihanna signed with a music company, Def Jam Recordings, which is a multinational record label based in Manhattan. While signed to the company, she worked on her first album Music of the Sun, and released it in 2005. Her album sold over 2 million copies worldwide. The single “Pon de Replay” is the most notable single off of her debut album, peaking at number one on the Billboard chart.

The following year, Rihanna released her second studio album A Girl Like Me, which featured two songs that reached the top ten Billboard Singles chart.

Her third album was what changed Rihanna’s image and what blew her up into the star we know today. Her album Good Girl Gone Bad has so many significant songs, one being the iconic song “Umbrella,” featuring American rapper Jay-Z. 

Rihanna released five studio albums after the release of Good Girl Gone Bad, and has had so many singles reach Billboards top ten chart. In total, Rihanna has 14 number-one songs and 31 top-ten songs. She also has nine Grammy awards and thirty-three nominations.

In 2012, Rihanna launched the nonprofit Clara Lionel Foundation (named after her grandmother), which is an organization that supports and funds education and early response programs around the world. For her efforts, Rihanna was honored with the President’s Award at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards.

Along with launching the nonprofit Foundation, Rihanna was given a Government role in her home country of Barbados. In 2018, Rihanna became Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Her role takes on the responsibility “for promoting education, tourism, and investment for the island,” (as said by Rihanna). 

If singing and being an ambassador wasn’t enough, Rihanna is also a businesswoman. She has a makeup and skincare line, a fashion line, and a lingerie line.

“Fashion has always been my defense mechanism,” said Rihanna according to an Associated Press report.

In Barbados, Rihanna would make clothes with a group of girls and would sell them. She was always interested in fashion, and now she has a fashion line called “Fenty.” 

Fenty is a luxury fashion line that sells all types of clothes and accessories. Since her brand is a luxury brand, the clothes sell for more than your average store at the mall, but they are beautifully made and are amazing quality. She recently got into making a men’s collection so her clothes could be more inclusive.

Along with her fashion line, Rihanna has her very successful lingerie line called “Savage X Fenty.” Savage X Fenty is all about body positivity and feeling comfortable in your body. The models on the website, both male and female, are different races and have different body types, which opposes the common idea that models have to be thin.

Her second-ever lingerie show (on Amazon Prime) has been Emmy-nominated for outstanding choreography in the variety or reality programming category.

Lastly, Rihanna has a successful makeup line called “Fenty Beauty,” and a new skincare line called “Fenty Skin.” Her makeup line has been applauded for having an inclusive range of fifty different shades of foundation. This has been an issue for many makeup brands as they tend to have more shades for lighter skin tones and fewer shades for darker skin tones. 

Rihanna is a strong Black leader and influential artist who uses her platform to speak and shed light on issues that do not get talked about enough. Her positive outlook on body and racial inclusion inspires so many and her efforts will not be forgotten. Rihanna deserves to be recognized and appreciated and she will continue to be a positive influence on current and next generations.