Pop star awarded National Hero of now-independent Barbados

Pop musician Rihanna was awarded the honor of Barbados National Hero on Tuesday, shortly after the nation became a republic and ousted Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

During a ceremony in the singer’s birthplace of Bridgetown, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley referenced Rihanna’s 2012 song ‘Diamonds’ to applause. “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation,” the prime minister declared.

Robyn Rihanna Fenty – who goes by the stage name Rihanna – is the second woman in Barbados history to be given the honor of National Hero after religious leader Sarah Ann Gill, who died in 1866. Rihanna is also only one of two living Barbados National Heroes, with the other being 85-year-old cricketeer Sir Garfield Sobers, who received the title in 1998.

As National Hero of Barbados, Rihanna receives the full title of The Right Excellent Robyn Rihanna Fenty for life.

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The royal crest is seen on a flag at a ceremony to mark the transition of Barbados to a republic. © Reuters /Toby Melville
Queen ousted as Barbados decolonizes

The ceremony took place just after Barbados became a republic and ousted Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Her Majesty was replaced by Dame Sandra Mason, who was sworn in as the first president of Barbados on midnight, Tuesday in a ceremony attended by Prince Charles.

Though Rihanna’s music career took off in the United States, she was born and raised in the Barbados parish of St. Michael, where she was discovered by American music industry producers.

Before being made National Hero of Barbados, Rihanna served as a Barbadian ambassador since September 2018.

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