- Also Known As:
- 5' 8"
- Saint Michael
Rihanna (born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on Feb. 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados) is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, philanthropist, and fashion icon. After building a considerable buzz with her first two studio albums, Rihanna would explode into a music superstar, thanks to help from her “Umbrella.” While this song would establish her as a massive star, at the time, no one knew just how big this Caribbean singer was going to get.
Growing up in Bridgetown, Barbados, Rihanna’s early life was marked with turmoil due to her father’s drug and alcohol addiction. Things improved following her parents’ divorce when she was 14, and the seeds for her eventual fame were soon planted. Rihanna grew up listening to reggae and pursued a musical career as a young woman. Along with two of her classmates, she formed a girl group and landed an audition with American producer Evan Rogers. The producer saw something special in Rihanna and helped her secure a six-album deal with Def Jam records. This was when she met the man who would be credited as her mentor, Jay-Z.
Her debut album, Music of the Sun, arrived in 2005, and its lead single, “Pon de Replay,” reached No. 2 in the United States. She followed up the success with A Girl Like Me, which contained the Top 10 hits “SOS,” “Unfaithful,” and “Break It Off.” However, Rihanna’s “breakthrough” would come in 2007 with Good Girl Gone Bad. The song “Umbrella,” featuring Jay-Z, was a smash hit, ultimately getting certified Platinum six times by the RIAA. It was a sign of things to come. Subsequent singles “Hate That I Love You,” “Don’t Stop The Music,” “Take A Bow,” “Disturbia,” and “Rehab”) each went Platinum to a varying number of times. The success continued with 2009’s Rated R and even more so with 2010’s Loud. The album produced three No. 1 hits, including “S&M,” “Only Girl (In The World)” and “What’s My Name?” a collaboration with Drake.
Rihanna released Talk That Talk in 2011 and Unapologetic in 2012. Both of these albums would produce hit singles (“Where Have You Been” from the former, “Diamonds” and “Stay” from the latter), but after seven albums in seven consecutive years, Rihanna finally took a break in her release schedule. Her eighth album, Anti, would arrive in 2016, after two non-album singles – “FourFiveSeconds” with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, and “Bitch Better Have My Money.” Anti was greeted with generally positive reviews, but it was just as successful, producing the No. 1 hit song, “Work” (again, with Drake.) Anti would be followed by another break, which prompted many of Rihanna’s fans to hound her to drop her ninth album.
In addition to her own music, Rihanna has been featured on a ton of other chart-topping hits, like Eminem’s “The Monster” and “Love The Way You Lie,” T.I’s “Live Your Life,” Calvin Harris’ “This Is What You Came For,” and DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts.”
Outside of music, Rihanna has been busy expanding her empire into other business ventures. In 2011, she partnered with Armani for her first fashion line. She presented her first women’s fashion collection at London Fashion Week (for the British brand River Island) in 2013. In 2015, Dior chose her as their new spokesperson, making her the first Black woman to be the face of the brand. She teamed with Puma in 2014 to oversee the brand’s women’s line. In 2017, she launched her cosmetics company Fenty Beauty under LVMH’s Kendo Brands. In 2018, she expanded into lingerie with “Savage x Fenty,” a line that is a critical and commercial success.
On top of music and fashion, Rihanna has also dipped her toes into acting. She had a cameo in Bring It On: All or Northing, and landed a featured role in the 2012 film, Battleship. She also appeared in the fifth season of Bates Motel and in the Luc Besson film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
In 2007, Rihanna began dating singer Chris Brown. Their relationship lasted until 2009. The couple was scheduled to perform at the 51 st Annual Grammy Awards, but the performance was canceled after Chris turned himself into the police, accused of attacking a woman in a car after an argument. At the time, authorities didn’t name the woman involved in the incident, but witnesses claimed that the woman was Rihanna. A leaked photo from the police department showed the extend of the physical damages done to her face. Chris pleaded guilty to felony assault in June 2009. He received five years’ probation. Around that time, Rihanna began a long-term, on-again/off-again romance with Drake.
Rihanna confirmed at the start of 2013 that she and Chris Brown had rekindled their romance the year before. By May 2013, they had broken up again. Rihanna would be romantically linked to Drake, Travis Scott, Matt Kemp, and others until 2017. That year, she began a relationship with Saudi businessman Hassan Jameel. The couple broke up in January 2020.