Singer, actress, businesswoman – this Barbadian woman has certainly caused a stir in the entertainment industry through the decades. With sales of over 250 million records worldwide, she has become one of the best-selling musicians of all time. As of 2021, she has been named as the wealthiest female music artist, with an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion.

Background – Rihanna was born in 1988 in Saint Michael, Barbados and was raised in the capital city Bridgetown where she grew up in a three-bedroom bungalow and sold clothes with her father in a stall on the street. Although her childhood was extremely affected by her father’s alcoholism, she didn’t let her family problems take over her passion for music. And as a result, in 2003 Rihanna along with her two classmates formed a musical trio and fortunately was discovered by American record producer Evan Rogers and the rest is history.

Social Impacts – Throughout her career, she has been tirelessly working to make the world a better place. Back in 2006, she created her Believe Foundation in order to help terminally ill children. Not only that, Rihanna performed a series of charity concerts entitled A Girl’s Night Out in 2008 to benefit the Believe Foundation. These concerts were open to all and money from sponsors was donated to provide medical supplies, school supplies and toys to children in need. In the same year, she contributed to the song “Just Stand Up!” along with fifteen other female artists, to perform the song live during the “Stand Up to Cancer” television special which ultimately raised $100 million for cancer research. Moreover, to raise awareness and combat HIV/AIDS, Rihanna along with other public figures designed clothing for the February 2008 H&M Fashion Against AIDS line. She also established a nonprofit organisation called Clara Lionel Foundation back in 2012.

Apart from that, Rihanna launched her fashion brand Fenty in 2019 under luxury fashion group LVMH, being the first woman of color to lead an LVMH brand. Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics brand, also established by Rihanna is popular for its broad inclusivity across skin tones and gender. Both the foundation and Fenty Beauty concealer include 50 shades, offering a wide variety to all skin types so that everyone gets a vast range to choose from. In 2018, Rihanna launched her lingerie brand called “Savage X Fenty” which literally won hearts all over the globe for its inclusivity which the biggest luxury lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret lacked. Every piece of her lingerie brand is made to fit people of all color and sizes. Rihanna showcased Savage X Fenty’s collection at several NYFW shows, which included an inclusive range of models, leaving the audience in awe.

Accolades – Rihanna has excelled in her career undoubtedly. She has won 9 Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, 13 American Music Awards, 8 People’s Choice Awards, and six Guinness World Records among others. Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Forbes ranked her among the top ten highest-paid celebrities. Furthermore, She was appointed as an ambassador of education, tourism, and investment by the Government of Barbados, and was declared a National Hero of Barbados on the first day of the country’s parliamentary republic in 2021.

  • Mohor Bhattacharjee