Rihanna | Biographies
Rihanna is renowned music artist, actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Saint Michael Parish, Barbados, on February 20, 1988. She, however, grew up in Barbados’ capital Bridgetown where she received primary and secondary school education at Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School and Combermere School, respectively.
Also, Rihanna received some military training under Barbados’ sub-military programme. Her drill sergeant during the training was her friend and music artist Shontelle Layne.
Rihanna's music career began very early in 2003 at the age of just 15, when she and two classmates operating as a girl music group were offered an audition with an American music producer Evan Rogers who was on holiday in Barbados. During the audition Mr Rogers was particularly impressed with Rihanna and after two more meetings with her, he invited her to USA to record a demo tape with songs that could be sent to various recording companies in search of recording contract. Among the recording companies that received the demo tape was Def Jam Records in New York City, whose boss then was the legendary rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z.
Albeit reportedly skeptical about Rihanna after listening to the tape, Jay Z nevertheless invited her for an audition with Def Jam Records in early 2005. For the audition Rihanna delivered Whitney Houston’s cover of For The Love Of You and some other songs from the demo tape. Her performance is said to had impressed Jay Z so much that he decided to sign her instantly for a six-album record deal. According to some sources, after the audition Rihanna was not allowed to leave the recording company building until the record deal contract was written and signed, out of fear that she could have been taken by other recording companies in NYC!
After signing with Def Jam Records, great things began happening very quickly to Rihanna’s music career, releasing her debut studio album Music Of The Sun in August 2005 just three months after the signing. The album was a commercial success, selling over 2 million copies worldwide.
Later in April 2006, about eight months after delivery of the debut album, Rihanna released her second studio album A Girl like Me. The album was also commercially successful, reaching No. 1 in Canada, and No. 5 in USA and UK. Particularly, its lead single SOS performed very well, reaching No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
While signing with Def Jam Records could be said to have been her discovery of the shortest possible road towards the global musical arena, and release of her debut and second studio albums as marking crucial points along that road, release of her third studio album Good Girl Gone Bad in May 2007 was confirmation of her arrival at destination hence breakthrough into fame and subsequent enormous wealth.
More specifically, Good Girl Gone Bad presented dramatic transformation of Rihanna from the hitherto mere cute pop princess whose styles of music and dance were largely shaped by others, to an independent creative global music superstar and sex symbol with fully control of the various aspects of her music career. This was an incredibly rapid musical evolution of Rihanna, that took only about two years from delivery of her debut album.
The third studio album entailed some her greatest singles in her music career, e.g. Wet Wet Wet, Shut Up And Drive, Don’t Stop The Music, Love Is All Around, and Umbrella. The latter won her first Grammy Award at the Grammy Awards 2008. Overall, Good Girl Gone Bad became one of her bestselling albums, selling over 9 million worldwide.
The third studio album was reissued as Good girl Gone Bad: Reloaded in 2018. The new edition of the album consisted some new songs that include Take A Bow and Disturbia.
In November 2009 Rihanna released her fourth studio album Rated R. Its lead single Rude Boy was particularly successful, reaching No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. After the album, she and Def Jam Records called it quits.
After ditching Def Jam Records, Rihanna in 2010 signed with Roc Nation, a Jay Z recording company, and released her fifth studio album Loud the same year in November. This was a great album featuring her masterpiece singles Only Girl and SOS, among others. Only Girl won her a Grammy at the 53rd Grammy Awards.
Rihanna released her sixth studio album Talk That Talk in November 2011. The album debuted No. 1 in UK and No. 3 in USA. Its lead single We Found Love was incredibly popular worldwide, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and other similar music singles charts in 27 countries. The single’s music video won Rihanna an award at MTV Video Music Awards 2012. Other singles in the album include Talk That Talk, Where Have You Been, and You Da One.
In November 2012 Rihanna released her seventh studio album Unapologetic. The album was great success, debuting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and became Rihanna’s first No.1 album in USA. The album lead single Diamonds was awesome, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as on other similar music singles charts in over 20 countries. Another masterpiece in the album was Stay. Rihanna promoted the album with a world tour, namely, Diamonds World Tour that began in March 2013.
Rihanna’s eighth studio album Anti was released in January 2016. The album was produced by a music streaming service company co-owned by Rihanna, called Tidal. The album is therefore available only through streaming. Anti was commercially very successful, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Top singles of the album include Work, Sex With Me, Love On The Brain, and Needed Me. The album was promoted by a world tour called The Anti World Tour that entailed 74 shows in USA, Canada, Europe, and United Arab Emirates. The world tour began in Jacksonville, Florida on March 12, 2016, and culminated in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on November 27, 2016.
In 2018 Rihanna announced she is working on her ninth studio album that is expected to be released soon.
Rihanna is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with over 250 million records sold worldwide. She has been honored immensely for her contribution to the music industry, with over 230 awards that include the following:
13 American Music Awards that include the Icon Award
12 Billboard Music Awards
9 Grammy Awards
7 MTV Video Music Awards that include the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award
2 BRIT Awards
6 Guinness World Records
On November 30, 2017, the government of Barbados honored Rihanna for her invaluable contribution to the music industry, with renaming a street in the neighborhood she grew up in Bridgetown after her name. The street, Newbury New Road, was renamed Rihanna Drive.
On September 20, 2018, the government of Barbados appointed Rihanna as the country's ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, reported some media sources. Rihanna's new ambassadorial position entails promotion of education, tourism, and investments for Barbados.
As an actress, Rihanna has, so far, featured in several movies. They include, among others, the following:
Guava Island (2019)
Ocean's 8 (2018)
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017)
Black Mama Widow (2006)
All Or Nothing (2004)
As regards entrepreneurship, Rihanna's business activities could be said to have become highly diversified over the years, ranging from smart stock investments, property holdings, catering, beverage, endorsement, sponsorship, beauty, and fashion. However, they are probably her endorsement, sponsorship, beauty, and fashion ventures that have been most lucrative. Accordingly, we will also focus on these ventures.
Endorsement and sponsorship are probably among Rihanna’s earliest business ventures dating back to 2007 when she inked an endorsement deal with CoverGirl Cosmetics. The deal was followed by signing of several more deals over the years that include, among others, the following:
Endorsement deal with the fashion and sports wear giant PUMA as the firm’s Creative Director (2014)
Endorsement deal with Dior as Face of Dior (2015)
$25 million sponsorship deal with Samsung (2015)
As regard beauty, Rihanna’s ventures so far could be said to involve mainly perfume and cosmetics lines.
Rihanna perfume line is mainly for women’s perfumes, and dates to 2011 when she released her first perfume fragrance Reb’l Fleur Eau de Parfum. The fragrance was a commercial success, reportedly generating $80 million in gross revenue the first year alone.
In 2012 Rihanna delivered her second and third perfume fragrances, namely Rebelle Eau de Parfum, and Nude Eau de Parfum. Nude EdP has been mentioned by some beauty sources as one of the best celebrity perfumes in the world.
Rihanna released her fourth fragrance Rogue Eau de Parfum in 2013, while her fifth fragrance Rogue Love Eau de Parfum was released in 2014.
In 2015 Rihanna launched her sixth perfume fragrance RiRi Eau de Parfum that was followed by her seventh fragrance Crush Eau de Parfum in 2016.
Rihanna’s eighth and latest perfume fragrance for women is Kiss Eau de Parfum that was launched in 2017.
Rihanna’s cosmetics ventures could probably be said to have began in November 2015 when she launched her own beauty and stylist agency called Fr8me, in Los Angeles, CA. However, breakthrough as a beauty entrepreneur came about two years later in September 2017 when she launched her own makeup line called Fenty Beauty during New York Fashion Week in NYC. Today, Fenty Beauty is a global beauty brand that consists of an incredible collection of a wide range of makeup products and accessories for the modern woman. The collection is available in 1600 stores spread over 17 countries.
In July 2020 Rihanna in collaboration with Kendo Brands, a LVMH owned beauty company, launched a skincare brand called Fenty Skin. The brand delivers skincare products, hence diversifies Rihanna’s beauty empire that had hitherto focused mainly on makeups.
As regards fashion, Rihanna made a breakthrough into the industry on May 11, 2018 when she launched online, her own indoor outfit collection called Savage x Fenty. The collection consists of at least 90 types of indoor outfits including lingerie, sleepwear, loungewear, and beauty accessories. The outfits are available in various sizes ranging from XS to 3XL.
Adding to her indoor outfit line, Rihanna on May 22, 2019 launched a new luxury fashion label called Fenty, in collaboration with the famous luxury goods brand group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Fenty fashion label produces clothing, footwear, and fashion accessories. Fenty is the first fashion label owned by a woman of African descent to partner with LVMH.
In recognition of her immense contribution to the fashion industry and particularly her work at Fenty, Rihanna was on December 2, 2019 awarded The Fashion Awards' Urban Luxe Prize at The Fashion Awards 2019 ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, London, UK.
Also, Rihanna is a very staunch philanthropist, with her own charitable organization called Clara Lionel Foundation. She founded the latter in 2012, in honor of her grand parents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The Foundation aims at improving the quality of life in communities, worldwide, in the areas of health, education, arts and culture.
Early in May 2016, Rihanna launched in collaboration with the Clara Lionel Foundation, a global scholarship program that awards full scholarships to young people in Barbados, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica, and USA. She said during the launch, that the scholarships enable young people from the above countries to receive full college degree education anywhere in USA.
On September 23, 2016, Clara Lionel Foundation announced a multi-year partnership with Global Partnership For Education (GPE), and Global Citizen, by which Rihanna will serve as Global Ambassador For Education. As a global ambassador, Rihanna will champion education for more that 330 million children in the world and particularly in developing countries, who have no access to education.
Hitherto launching of the Clara Lionel Foundation, Rihanna founded a charity called Believe Foundation, in 2006, that provides support to terminally ill children. Furthermore, she is involved, and contributes immensely to global endeavors concerned with among others: arts education, health education, cities, disaster relief, environment, HIV/AIDS, cancer, hunger, adoption, underprivileged children, poverty, domestic violence, human rights, and homelessness.
On January 27, 2017, Rihanna was in Malawi, to promote global education on behalf of the Clara Lionel Foundation, and as an ambassador for education for Global Citizen and Global Partnership for Education charities. Following the visit, on July 2017 Rihanna through Clara Lionel Foundation launched a bicycle sharing program in a collaboration with Ofo, to help girls in Malawi get to school.
On August 18, 2017, Rihanna through her Clara Lionel Foundation, donated a staggering $2 million to the victims of a recent devastating mudslides and floods in Sierra Leone. The global superstar said the donation was a humanitarian gesture, and an act of solidarity and support for a brotherly affected people; and that it was aimed at providing shelter, food, clothing, and medicines for the victims of the natural disaster.
Amidst the global new coronavirus pandemic, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation on March 21, 2020 announced via Instagram, donation of $5 million to the fight against the pandemic. The donation was made to: Partners In Health, Feeding America, International Rescue Committee, World Health Organization (WHO), and her native country of Barbados. At the same time, Clara Lionel Foundation together with Jay Z's Shawn Carter Foundation, each donated $1 million in support of vulnerable groups during the new coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, on April 9, 2020, Clara Lionel Foundation and Twitter's founder Jack Dorsey, each donated $2.1 million to Los Angeles' Mayor's Fund, Los Angeles, CA, USA, in support of victims of domestic abuse during new coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
On September 14, 2017, Rihanna hosted the 3rd Annual Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street, in New York City. The Annual Diamond Ball is a fundraising event for her Clara Lionel Foundation.
The 4th Annual Diamond Ball was held on September 14, 2018 also at Cipriani Wall Street, New York city. Numerous celebrities attended the event, including among others Paris Hilton, Tiffany Haddish, Gayle King, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Meek Mill, Gucci Mane, Odell Beckham Jr, A$AP Rocky, Justine Skye, Childish Gambino, and Issa Rae, among others.
On September 12, 2019, Rihanna presented the 5th Annual Diamond Ball at her favorite venue Cipriani Wall Street, New York City. As always, the event was attended by many prominent celebrities that included Cardi B, A$AP Rocky, G-Eazy, Megan Thee Stallion, Offset, Normani, Cindy Bruna, Seth Myers, and Karlie Kloss, among others.
Rihanna's relentless engagement in philanthropy has been acknowledged and honored globally. For instance, on March 1, 2017, she was awarded the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian Of The Year Award, for her invaluable engagement in philanthropy. She became the first female music artist to receive the prestigious award from one of world's top universities. In her speech during the award ceremony, the humble and empathetic Rihanna said that one needs not be rich or even college educated, to help somebody.
On February 22, 2020, Rihanna received the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)'s President's Award, at the 51st NAACP Image Awards' ceremony held at Pasadena, California, USA. The President's Award to Rihanna was in recognition of her immense contribution to music, fashion, and philanthropy, said NAACP.
As an individual person, Rihanna who is stunningly beautiful and named in numerous renowned quarters as one of the world’s sexiest women of her generation, is God fearing, very amble, very intelligent, very independent, very strong, resolute, empathetic, strategic thinker, very hard working, very ambitious, charismatic, friendly, very loyal to those she loves or likes, and very likeable, among many other wonderful personal qualities.
Above all, fame and massive wealth have not affected Rihanna's close relationship with her family, childhood friends, and her country of birth. When with them, she is reportedly still the ordinary Rihanna they used to know! Particularly, documentary evidence shows that she has done everything she can to ensure that her parents and grandfather enjoy the appropriate standards of living that match her own. For example, in 2012 she bought her mother Monica Braithwaite, a five-bedroom house in Barbados, and in 2016 she bought her father Ronald Fenty, a $1.8 million mansion in the posh Sandy Lane community in Saint James, Barbados. There are even unconfirmed rumors that she is very concerned and takes great care of her childhood friends as well.
In a wider context, Rihanna’s life so far has contributed invaluably to happiness in the world through, among others, facilitating and enriching all sorts of social interactions and occasions with her amazing and timeless music and movies; making girls and women worldwide feel good with themselves and confident with her incredible fashion and beauty accessories; and enhancing the chances of disadvantaged children of the world for attaining their dreams with her staunch philanthropy that focuses on wellbeing and education of such children.
Furthermore, Rihanna’s life so far has delivered great lessons to the world, that include the following.