National hero Rihanna stunned in a white mini dress and blazer at a ceremony for her National Hero Award in Barbados.
Rihanna stunned in a white mini dress and blazer as she received an insignia for her National Hero Award in her native Barbados on Tuesday, Nov. 30. The singer and entrepreneur, 33, was named Barbados’ 11th national hero by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, simultaneously breaking barriers as she became the second woman to receive the honor.
The ceremony at Golden Square Freedom Park in Bridgetown was part of Barbados celebrating cutting ties with the United Kingdom, removing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and becoming a republic. With nearly 400 years of British rule in the rearview, Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Saint Michael, Barbados prior to her move to the U.S., was honored by the republic and new President Sandra Mason on Monday, Nov. 29.
Prime Minister Mottley delivered apt remarks as the singer received her award, incorporating lyrics from her hit song “Diamonds.” She said at the ceremony, “Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership. May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation.”
In another ceremony on Tuesday, Rihanna was awarded with a medal and delivered a brief speech to the crowds. “This is a day that I will never, ever forget,” she said, per USA Today. “It’s also a day that I never saw coming. I have traveled the world and received several awards and recognitions, but nothing, nothing compares to being recognized in the soil that you grew in.”
Political leaders and dignitaries, including Prince Charles, attended the ceremony on Monday. In his speech, the royal, 73, denounced Britain’s legacy of colonialism and slavery within the republic. “From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” he said, per PEOPLE.
The prince continued, “Emancipation, self-government and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides. Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon.” Queen Elizabeth sent her congratulations to the new republic in an Instagram post shared on Monday.
“On this significant occasion and your assumption of office as the first President of Barbados, I extend my congratulations to you and all Barbadians,” the post read. “I first visited your beautiful country on the eve of independence in early 1966, and I am very pleased that my son is with you today. Since then, the people of Barbados have held a special place in my heart.”