As the clock struck midnight on November 30, a historic ceremony in Barbados celebrated the termination of all ties to the British monarchy and honoured the country’s much-loved figurehead, and 2008 named ambassador, Rihanna.
In this monumental moment of celebration, the Queen was removed as the monarch of Barbados, and the Caribbean island became the world’s newest republic. Those in attendance included the Prince of Wales who participated in the handover ceremony occurring at the National Heroes Square in the capital, Bridgetown. Price Charles was present in his role as successor as head of the Commonwealth and acted as a representative of the Queen.
Rihanna dazzles on red carpet as Barbados declare her national hero. ?
— HITC Culture (@HITCculture) November 30, 2021
Perhaps the most noteworthy icon in attendance was Rihanna herself. Born and raised in Barbados, Robyn Rihanna Fenty was declared by minister Mottley a member of the Order of National Heroes. With only 10 official national heroes in Barbados currently, this honour is highly regarded and highlights the pride that the country takes in her success as a singer and entrepreneur; the wealth garnered by this success has been used resourcefully in her donations to the country in areas such as pandemic relief and technology for education.
BREAKING: Rihanna is conferred with the honor of National Hero of Barbados by the prime minister pic.twitter.com/I036f4O2zx
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 30, 2021
After the formal portion of the ceremony, it became Rihanna’s time to shine, literally.
In a moment of sweetness, Mottley echoed Rihanna’s lyrics and declared, “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your words, by your actions and to do credit wherever you shall go.”
Touching her hand to her heart and laughing kindly behind her mask, Rihanna was brought to the stage to accept the minister’s order. Accompanied by applause greater than the guest of honour Prince Charles, the superstar’s significance in the country was evident.
The Prince of Wales is attending the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony to mark Barbados’ transition to a Republic within the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/b91Etx3gmg
— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) November 30, 2021
Aanother noteworthy moment of the night was a speech from Charles himself where he addressed the atrocity of slavery in Britain’s colonial past. Although incomplete in its full acknowledgement, it was the most a Royal Family member had publicly recognised the role Britain has had in the devastation of developing countries.
November 30, 2021 is monumental moment in Barbados’ history, and Rihanna’s presence brought even more necessary attention to the celebration. A queer ally and icon, Rihanna has made public statements in her support for the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights, and we love to see that her talent and philanthropic efforts in Barbados are honoured in such a historic way on this momentous day.
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