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Rihanna (born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988) is a Barbadian recording artist and model.[1] Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for then-label head Jay-Z.[2]

In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single "Pon de Replay". Less than a year later, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), which peaked within the top five of the Billboard albums chart, and produced her first US number one hit single, "SOS", as well as Billboard Hot 100 top ten entries "Unfaithful" and "Break It Off". Rihanna's third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), peaking at number two on the Billboard 200, featured five top ten hits including three US number one hit singles—"Umbrella", "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia"—and the worldwide hit "Don't Stop the Music".

Rihanna. rap star and model  on the red carpet 2009


Picture of Rihanna on the red carpet 2009

The album was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella," which features Jay-Z.[3][4] Her fourth studio album, Rated R, was released in November 2009. As of January 2010, Rihanna has released two singles from the album, "Russian Roulette" and "Hard", which both peaked within the top ten on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. This brings the total amount of top tens on the chart to thirteen.

Rihanna has sold over 14.6 million records and 44 million singles/digital downloads worldwide in her five-year career span.[5] She has received several accolades, including the 2007 World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, as well as the 2008 American Music Awards for Favourite Soul/R&B Female Artist and Favourite Pop/Rock Female Artist.[6][7] Rihanna has attained five Hot 100 number one singles, becoming the first of two female artists, joint with Beyoncé, with the most number ones attained within the 2000s. She also serves as one of Barbados' honorary cultural ambassadors.[8] In January 2010, Rihanna received two Grammy Awards for her 2009 single "Run This Town", bringing her total number of Grammys won to three.[9]

Life and career

1988–2004: Early life and career beginnings

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Rihanna was born in Saint Michael, Barbados on February 20, 1988, to Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor, and Monica Fenty, an accountant.[10] Her mother, a native of Guyana, is Afro-Guyanese, and her father is of Barbadian and Irish descent.[11] She is the oldest of three siblings; two younger brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty.[12] She began singing at around the age of seven.[12] Her childhood was deeply affected by her father's addiction to crack cocaine and parent's rocky marriage, which ended when she was fourteen years old.[10] Rihanna attended Charles F. Broome Memorial School, a primary school in Barbados, and then the Combermere School, where she formed a musical trio with two of her classmates at the age of fifteen. In 2004 she won the Miss Combermere Beauty Pageant.[13] She was an army cadet in a sub-military programme that trained with the military of Barbados and Shontelle was her drill sergeant.[14]

At the age of 15, she formed a girl group with two of her classmates.[12] In 2003 friends introduced Rihanna and her two bandmates to record producer Evan Rogers, who was vacationing in Barbados with his wife. The group auditioned for Rogers, who said that "the minute Rihanna walked into the room, it was like the other two girls didn't exist." While auditioning for Rogers, Rihanna sang Destiny's Child's cover of "Emotion".[12] Over the next year, Rihanna and her mom shuttled back and forth to Rogers home in Stamford, Connecticut.

Then, shortly after turning 16, she relocated in the United States and moved in with Rogers and his wife.[12] Carl Sturken helped Rihanna record a four-song demo,[15] which included the ballad "Last Time," a cover of Whitney Houston’s hit "For the Love of You"[12] and what would become her first hit, "Pon de Replay" to send to various recording companies. It took a year to record the demos, because she was going to school and would only record during summer and Christmas school breaks.[12] Rihanna's demo made its way to Def Jam, which invited her to audition for the label's then-president, Jay-Z, who quickly signed her.[13][16]

2005–2006: Music of the Sun and A Girl Like Me

After signing with Def Jam, she spent the next three months recording and completing her debut album.[2] The album featured production from Evan Rogers, Carl Sturken, Stargate and Poke & Tone.[17] She first collaborated with rapper Memphis Bleek on his fourth studio album 534 before her debut. She released her debut single, "Pon de Replay", on August 22, 2005, which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.[18] It also became a global hit where it peaked within the top ten across fifteen countries. Her debut album, Music of the Sun, was released in August 2005[19] in the United States. The album reached number ten on the Billboard 200, selling 69,000 copies in its first week.[20] The album has sold over two millions copies worldwide and is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, denoting shipments to US retailers of over 500,000 units.[21]

Her music was marketed within the reggae genres because of her Caribbean descent. The album received mixed reviews by music critics. Rolling Stone magazine rated it 2.5 out of 5 stars and described as lacking the replay value, ingenuity and rhythm of the single with "generic vocal hiccups and frills" of US R&B inflecting upon her "Caribbean charm".[22] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described the album as a "glut of teen R&B chanteuses " and described her lead single "Pon de Replay" as "a dancehall-pop mixture that owes plenty of its sweat and shimmy to Beyoncé's "Baby Boy".[17]

A reviewer for Entertainment Weekly commented that the "dancehall/R&B debut is filled with chintzy production and maudlin arrangements that block out the Music of the Sun."[23] The albums second single, "If It's Lovin' that You Want"[24] was less successful than "Pon de Replay", having managed a peak position of number thirty-six in the US, and number eleven on the UK Singles Chart.[18] In Australia, Ireland and New Zealand the single proved to be well-received reaching the top ten in those countries. However, the third single, "Let Me" was only released in Japan, peaking at number eight.

A month after the release of her debut album, she began working on her second studio album.[25] The album contained production from record producers Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken who produced most of her debut album, Stargate, J. R. Rotem and label-mate singer-songwriter Ne-Yo.[26] While recording the album, Rihanna served as an opening act for Gwen Stefani to promote her debut album.[27] The lead single, "SOS", peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first number-one in the United States.[18] A Girl Like Me was released in April 2006,[28] less than eight months after her debut.

The album reached number five on the Billboard 200[20] selling 115,000 copies in its first week and has been certified platinum by the RIAA, having shipped over one million units.[21][29] Internationally, the album peaked at number one on the Top Canadian Albums, five on the UK Albums Chart and number five on the Irish Album Chart. The critical response to the album was mixed; Rolling Stone magazine commented "Like her filler-packed debut album, this similar but superior follow-up doesn't deliver anything else as ingenious as its lead single."[30] Critics also described the album as a record that almost identically alternates between the sunny dancehall/dub-pop, hip-hop-infused club bangers and gushy, adult-oriented ballads.[31] The second single, "Unfaithful", became a major worldwide hit, reaching the top ten in dozen countries around the world, including the United States where it reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as topping the charts in Canada, France and Switzerland.

The albums third single, "We Ride"[32] failed to reprise the success of the lead single but the fourth single, "Break It Off" featuring Sean Paul, jumped from number fifty-two to number ten eventually peaking at number nine.[33][34] After the release of the album, she embarked on the Rock Tha Block Tour and then toured with Pussycat Dolls from November 2006 to February 2007 in the United Kingdom.[35]

2007–2008: Good Girl Gone Bad

Rihanna released her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, in June 2007. Prior to the release of the album, she spent the week of the Grammys writing songs for the album with Ne-Yo.[36] She adopted a more sexual image while recording the album, eventually dying her hair black and cutting it short. Rihanna worked with Timbaland and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, as well as previous musical collaborators such as Stargate, Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers to re-imagine her album compositions with uptempo dance tracks.[37] Rihanna commented, "I want to keep people dancing but still be soulful at the same time [...] You feel different every album, and [at] this stage I feel like I want to do a lot of uptempo [songs]."[36]

The album topped the charts in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Russia and Ireland, and peaked at number two in the United States and Australia. Unlike previous work, the album featured a more dance-pop sound instead of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles. The album received positive reviews by critics, becoming her most critically acclaimed album at that time compared to her previous efforts.[38] It yielded eight hit singles — all singles reaching the top twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 — including the worldwide number-one hit "Umbrella," featuring Jay-Z. In addition to reaching number one in various countries, "Umbrella" was the number one single in the United Kingdom for ten consecutive weeks,[39] making it the longest-running number-one single since Wet Wet Wet's single "Love Is All Around" spent fifteen weeks at the top in 1994.[40]

The song is listed number three on the 100 Best Songs of 2007 published by Rolling Stone magazine.[41] Her other singles, "Shut Up and Drive", "Don't Stop The Music" and "Hate That I Love You" were able to mirror the success of "Umbrella," with "Don't Stop the Music" reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 while peaking at number one in various countries.[42]

With the re-issue of her third album, titled Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, which was released in June 2008. Rihanna released the first singles from the re-release "Take a Bow"[43] — which became a worldwide number-one hit — the duet with Maroon 5, "If I Never See Your Face Again,"[44] and the other US number-one hit "Disturbia."[45] "Disturbia" reached to number four before reaching number one, as her previous single, "Take a Bow", was at number two, making Rihanna the seventh female singer to have two songs in the top five. Meanwhile, Rihanna was featured on rapper T.I.'s "Live Your Life," which peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Rihanna her fifth number-one single on the Hot 100 thus far ("SOS," "Umbrella," "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia," as well as T.I.'s "Live Your Life").[46]

This made Rihanna one of the two female solo artist with the most number-one singles this decade, with the other being Beyoncé Knowles.[47] Good Girl Gone Bad has shipped over two million units in the United States, receiving a two-time platinum certification from RIAA; this gave Rihanna her best-selling album, to date.[21] She was nominated in four categories at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, winning Monster Single of the Year and Video of the Year.[48] At the 2008 Grammy Awards, Rihanna earned her first Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration,[49] in addition to receiving five other nominations, including Record of the Year, Best Dance Recording, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group and Best R&B Song. In support of the album, she kicked off her second headlining tour The Good Girl Gone Bad Tour on September 12, 2007, with several shows across the United States, Canada and Europe[50] and then embarked on the Glow in the Dark Tour with Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and N.E.R.D on April 16, 2008.[51][52][53] Rihanna also won Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist at the 2008 American Music Awards.[54]

2009–present: Domestic violence case and Rated R

On February 8, 2009, Rihanna's scheduled performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards was cancelled.[55][56] Reports later surfaced regarding an alleged altercation with then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, who was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats.[57] On March 5, 2009, Brown was charged with assault and making criminal threats.[58][59] Due to a leaked photograph from the Los Angeles Police Department obtained by—which revealed Rihanna had sustained visible injuries—an organization known as STOParazzi has proposed a law called "Rihanna's Law", which, if enacted, would "deter employees of law enforcement agencies from releasing photos or information that exploits crime victims."[60][61]

Gil Kaufman of VH1 reported "[t]he nonstop coverage of the Rihanna/Brown case has brought up a number of issues regarding the privacy of alleged victims of domestic violence, including the decision by almost all major news outlets to divulge the identity of the victim—which is not typically done in domestic-violence cases" and the controversial distribution of the leaked photograph.[62] Rihanna was subpoenaed to testify during a preliminary hearing in L.A. on June 22, 2009.[63][64] "The DA told me Rihanna will be subpoenaed. I will accept on her behalf," Rihanna's attorney, Donald Etra told Us Weekly.[65] "She will appear in court, and if asked to testify, she will do so".[66][67] On June 22, 2009, Brown pled guilty to the felony assault. In exchange for his plea Brown received five years probation and was ordered to stay fifty yards away from Rihanna, unless at public events, which then will be reduced to ten yards.[68]

Rihanna collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye West on "Run This Town."[69] The song peaked at number two on Billboard Hot 100 and also reached the top ten in ten other countries. She appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia for the September 2009 Issue.[70] The photo shoot was influenced by Rihanna's hair, which she had cut for the shoot into a mohawk-like style. The style of the shoot was Extreme Couture and very dark, and in one shot she appeared semi-nude.[71] Rihanna performed "Run This Town" along with Jay-Z and West for the "Answer the Call" concert at Madison Square Garden in September 2009, making it her first musical performance since the altercation with Brown.[72] The trio also performed "Run This Town," on the premiere of The Jay Leno Show on September 14, 2009.[73]

Rihanna started recording in the studio with numerous different producers, including The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Chase & Status, Stargate, Slash, Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo and Akon, on her fourth studio album Rated R in March 2009.[74][75] On October 8, 2009, Rihanna shot the cover for her fourth album with Ellen von Unwerth in Berlin.[76] Rihanna worked closely with Simon Henwood for the album's brand and styling.[77] The new album was released November 23, 2009.[78][79] The album's lead single, "Russian Roulette", was released on October 20, 2009.[80] Rihanna performed the song on The X Factor on November 29, 2009.[81] The official video was released on November 13, 2009. The second single, "Hard" which features Young Jeezy, was released on November 2, 2009.[82]

On October 31, 2009, The National announced that Rihanna would be appearing at a New Year's Eve concert in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.[83] Rihanna was originally scheduled to perform in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, on May 28 that same year but cancelled due to personal reasons. She performed in the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on the December 31, 2009. Al Braik Investments & AEG Live were the main sponsors of the event.

In January 2010, Rihanna won two Barbados Music Awards for "Song of the Year" with Umbrella and "Entertainer of the Decade". Also at the 2010 NRJ Music Awards, she was named "International Female Artist of the Year".[84] In addition, she, Jay-Z, and Kanye West won the "Best Rap Song" and "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" awards for "Run This Town" at the Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010.[85][86]

On December 9, 2009, Rihanna announced new dates for her 2010 tour, The Rated R Tour. So far, 24 dates have been announced in Europe with more dates expected to be announced in North America, Asia and Oceania in early 2010.

Musical style and influences

Volume 65 of the Contemporary Black Biography book series notes that "Rihanna is the rare rhythm and blues (R&B) diva to emerge from the Caribbean world."[87] Becoming an international sensation, Rihanna is known for blending R&B with Caribbean music, such as reggae and dancehall.[88] Peter Coulter of the Antrim Times, commented that "[Rihanna] has an amazing voice which showed during her acoustic set, she just needs to work on her audience engagement during live shows."[89] At the time of her debut, reviewers referred to her as a "bubblegum queen"[90] and her music to "teen pop."[91] Larry Meyler of The Sun stated that "Rihanna going bad is very good" and that she had "[shaken] off any "teen pop" image as she rocked the stage."[91]

While performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest in 2006, Denis Armstrong of Canadian Online Explorer commented on her performance saying "her show was a Disney-esque choreographed fantasy of non-stop hip-swivelling, sassy attitude and personal endearments and a string of funky, sugar-free hits."[90] After revealing a new image while headlining her first tour, she was likely to be criticize for her tight leather outfit during each show.[92] A review in The Times compared Rihanna's stage wardrobe styling to that of Janet Jackson. He also described her outfit as "a vision of Ann Summers couture in thigh-high boots and a few scraps of black PVC."[93] However, Stuart Derdeyn of The Province commented that "even with the whole haute couture B&D clearly firing on all points, she's still got a ways to go to become the new Janet Jackson."[94]

Music and themes

Rihanna's musical style has changed during the release of her last three albums. She was originally marketed as a reggae singer since she burst on scene in 2005, with a styles of pop, R&B and dancehall. Her music also include various styles of musical genres, including contemporary R&B, dance-pop, pop rock and the Caribbean music styles of reggae and dancehall.[95]

With the release of her debut album Music of the Sun and its lead single "Pon de Replay", Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic described Rihanna's musical style as "synthesize Caribbean rhythms and beats with standard-issue urban dance-pop: Caribbean-inflected urban, if you will."[96] Rihanna is also described as utilizing "dancehall-lite beats and a reggae vocal cadence."[96] NME describes the singer as a "heady mix of dancehall, reggae and contemporary R&B."[97] During the release of her sophomore album, many critics felt that Rihanna's sound and substance was too heavily similar to that of Beyoncé's.[98][99][100]

The media even made negative reviews comparing her music,[101] music videos, performances[102][103] and even her image to Beyoncé,[104] which garnered Rihanna much criticism.[105] Some media even unfairly claimed that Jay-Z fashioned her to be a replica of Beyoncé.[103][106] Barry Walters of Rolling Stone considers Rihanna's A Girl Like Me to be "lightweight dancehall and R&B jams."[107] After the release of Good Girl Gone Bad, Allmusic's Andy Kellman credits Rihanna to be "as pop as pop gets."[108] Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times described her hit "Umbrella" as a lightweight pop confection with a heavy hip-hop backbeat, a breezy love song enriched by those unexpectedly goth-sounding keyboards and by the incongruous hint of anguish in Rihanna’s girlish voice.[109]

Her debut album featured a refreshing touch from pop veterans Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken of Syndicated Rhythm productions, who first discovered her. Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers have collaborated with Rihanna many times, including with her debut single "Pon de Replay", which helped launch her career with the tradition of reggae and dance pop and also collaborated on her sophomore album. Rihanna then enlisted into the pop and contemporary R&B working with music producer Stargate and singer-songwriter Ne-Yo on "Unfaithful"[36] and sampling the key section, bass line, and drum beat from Soft Cell's 1981 single "Tainted Love" on "SOS".[110]

The concept of her third studio album was to head in a new direction with the help of music producers Timbaland, and Sean Garrett, and also to re-imagine her album compositions[111] with fresh, uptempo dance tracks.[36] While recording the album, Rihanna stated that she wants to keep people dancing but still be soulful at the same time.[36] She then commented "You feel different every album, and [at] this stage I feel like I want to do a lot of uptempo [songs]."[36] She also began taking voice lessons from Ne-Yo for the third album. With songs like "Kisses Don't Lie" and "Shut Up and Drive", her music style became more pop rock oriented.[25] Unlike Music of the Sun or A Girl Like Me, her third album contained a more dance-pop sound[112] and less of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles of her previous albums.[113]

She has included various styles of music from uptempo pop-reggae with "Pon De Replay", to an 80's new wave fueled club banger "SOS" to the whiff of gothic horror in a love song "Unfaithful". Most of her love subject ballads contain a mid-tempo pop sound, with an R&B influences that uses of a gently strummed acoustic guitar with the production of Stargate and the songs written by Ne-Yo.[26] Some of her up-tempo dance-pop songs include production from Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and J. R. Rotem.[114] She has also taken to the music industry tradition of sampling songs from other artist like Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" on "SOS",[110] New Order's "Blue Monday" on "Shut Up and Drive" and '70s original song "Soul Makossa" of Manu Dibango with a part of the chorus from Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" on "Don't Stop the Music".


One of Rihanna's major influences and idols is Mariah Carey, whose song "Hero" she covered while performing at a school talent show. She says, "I looked up to [Mariah] a lot and I still do. I admire her as an artist, and to [compete with her] was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life.[115] Rihanna also considers Madonna as one of her biggest influences and said that she wants to be the "black Madonna". She mentioned that she respects Madonna's ability to reinvent herself and aspires to be just as successful.[116] Beyoncé Knowles has also been named as her major influence,[117][118] citing that she was inspired to start her career after watching Knowles on television as part of a Destiny's Child performance .[119] Of Janet Jackson, Rihanna expressed: "She was one of the first female pop icons that I could relate to ... She was so vibrant, she had so much energy.She still has power. I’ve seen her on stage, and she can stand there for 20 minutes and have the whole arena scream at her. You have to love Janet."[120]

Her other musical influences include Bob Marley, Alicia Keys[121] Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Celine Dion,[122] Brandy,[123] and Gwen Stefani.[124] Her music also contains strong influences of caribbean music and says that it has influenced her tremendously. Her friend and former Island Def Jam record label artist Fefe Dobson was someone that she admired and looked up to, having a fellow artist writing, singing, and performing the music she truly loves.[125][126] In a interview, Rihanna stated, that while growing up in Barbados, she grew up listening to reggae music and when she came to the United States she was exposed to many different types of music.[127]


Jon Bream of the Star Tribune commented "[i]n the tradition of Madonna and Janet Jackson, Rihanna has become the video vixen of the '00s ... Rihanna has perfected the pout, the long-legged strut and trend-setting hairdos that keep women and men alike checking her out on YouTube."[128] George Epaminondas of InStyle considers Rihanna's music videos to be "cinematic" due to her "blend of lush island rhythms and swinging pop and ... mischievous sensuality."[129] Rihanna commented that Marilyn Monroe and vintage clothing served for visual inspiration for the music video "Hate That I Love You" and "Rehab"; in contrast, the "dark, creepy" scenes of "Disturbia" have drawn comparison to Michael Jackson's Thriller.[128][130] The music video also ranked number five on the "Top Five Most Paranoid Music Videos" published by MTV Buzzworthy.[131]

Style and image

The New York magazine described Rihanna's early look as a cookie-cutter teen queen and that she has the ability to shift looks so dramatically and with such ease.[132] Since the release of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, [Rihanna's] has become a sex symbol and also set herself apart from other R&B starlets,[133] opting for designer couture over belly-baring crop tops.[134] Sonya Magett of Black Voices reported that Rihanna's style has become quite risqué since she burst on the scene 4 years ago.[135] In 2008, she constantly surprised, switching from pretty and sweet in pastels on the red carpet to dominatrix-leaning wear on stage and at awards shows.[136][137] Rihanna's fashion and style also landed her on the list of People's 10 Best Dressed Stars of 2008.[138] Glamour also awarded Rihanna with the seventeenth most glamorous woman of 2009 out of fifty. Glamour also commented on Rihanna's style saying "rockstar of leading ladies" and "She almost can’t make a style mistake right now.” They also said her "little-bit-punky, very-much-girly look still entrances readers."[139][140] They also commented on Rihanna's fashion risks saying "If style risks could be measured in miles, Rihanna would have criss-crossed the globe a thousand times over already."[141]

Rihanna's image has also been identified as a sex symbol. Regal of the Associated Content stated that Rihanna quickly garnered a more mature and definitely sexier look. In 2007, she ranked #8 in Maxim's 2007 Hot 100 list;[142] she then ranked #15 on 2008 Hot 100 list the following year.[143] In June 2007, Rihanna was named 2007 Venus Breeze’s “Celebrity Legs Of A Goddess” by Gillette.[144] Margeaux Watson of Entertainment Weekly wrote an article entitled "Rihanna: Diva of the year" which he refers to her breakout success of 2008.[145] In 2009, Maxim awarded Rihanna as the number 8th most sexiest woman on earth.[146] This made Rihanna the only female of African descent in the top ten or top twenty for that matter.

Rihanna's tattoos have drawn much media attention.[147] She has a total of twelve known tattoos,[148] including a music note tattoo on her ankle, a Pisces sign behind her right ear[149][150], a Sanskrit prayer going down her hip, a star in her left ear,[151] the word "love" on her left middle finger,[152] an Arabic phrase on her ribcage area, meaning "Freedom is God", a trail of stars going down the back of her neck[153][154], a skull with a pink hair bow, the phrase ’shhh...’[155] on her right index finger,[156] the date ‘11.4.86′ on top of her left shoulder[157] and a henna-style dragon claw,[158][159] complete with Hawaiian hibiscus flowers. Her most recent gun tattoo was planned to be just below her shoulders but changed it to her ribcage.[160][161] Although, she was likely to be criticized for her tattoo,[162][163][164] BangBang, the tattoo artist, was quick to explain that the image simply “represents strength and power”.[165][166][167][168]

Relations with Barbados

Rihanna is heavily involved in the marketing of her native country of Barbados.[169] She began by including the flag and broken trident in many of her videos, also shooting her album packaging for A Girl Like Me there.[169] In September 2007, she became the official face of tourism for Barbados, being included in many of their ad campaigns. She currently holds an honourary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.[170] She additionally was honoured by the Prime Minister David Thompson, who presented her several gifts at a national concert on 20 February 2008 in Barbados, called "Rihanna Day".[171][172] Regardless, In February 2008, Rihanna thanked her country and honoured them during the acceptance speech for her win of "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" at the Grammy Awards.[173]

Although Rihanna is heavily involved in the promotion of her country and works with the government in Barbados to do so, she is constantly criticized and ridiculed[174] for everything from her music, her successes and for wearing "skimpy clothes".[175][176] Rihanna speaking on the incident, "I went to the beach and I had on a one-piece swimsuit with jeans, They took the picture and they made it look like a top that was really revealing. There were radio programmes about it. It was a big deal for, like, three weeks straight - talking about I'm not setting a good example."[177] Rihanna also states she was bullied at school. "Having lighter skin wasn’t a problem in my household, but it was when I went to school — which really confused me at first. The harassment continued to my very last day of elementary school."[178]

They also mentioned that Rihanna was too young for Def Jam to push her as a "sex symbol", making a plea that she cover up.[179] The media and The Nation newspaper constantly make personal attacks and have shown lack of support and encouragement.[180] Rihanna spoke out against the scrutiny to Entertainment Weekly[181] stating, "They all hate me. I didn’t have to talk about them. I didn’t have to even mention that I’m from Barbados. But I do and people kind of take it for granted. They hate me. They talk shit about me all the time. But I’m like, "Whatever. I’m still doing this cause I love to do it and you’re not going to stop me".[174] Media fought back with letters to Rihanna publicly via a Barbadian newspaper, "[what she said] sounds as if though she is doing us a favour.

If God didn't give us a Rihanna, he would have given us someone else. So don't ever for a second get to thinking you are irreplaceable, Rihanna"[182] and "Her putting Barbados on the map is nonsense. Barbados was well on the map before she came along; and will be when she is gone".[183] Her mentor and music producer Evan Rogers spoke out to the media stating that Rihanna subsequently "formed her impression of any Bajan dislike from the reception she received at the recent Barbados Music Awards where," according to Rogers, "It was disappointing the way some people reacted as if they were almost rooting against her".[184]

Other ventures

Products and endorsements

In October 2005, Rihanna struck her first endorsement deal with Secret Body Spray[185] for them to sponsor her first tour.[186] In 2006, Rihanna participated in several endorsement deals, including Nike sportswear for the launch of her "SOS"[187] and J. C. Penney. In 2007, Rihanna signed with CoverGirl and became a celebrity spokesperson which included appearances on TV commercials[188][189] and in the Barbados Tourism Authority's tourism commercials. She also received an endorsement deal from Clinique in 2006 to promote their Happy fragrance.[190] She recorded a song written by Ne-Yo entitled "Just Be Happy" as part of the deal to promote their Happy fragrance. Rihanna also recorded a song called "Winning Women" with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger for P&G's female deodorant Secret. In December 2008, Rihanna contracted with Gucci to appear in their ads for the Tattoo Heart Collection, a special-edition line.[191][192] In the Gucci handbag ad, Rihanna is seen hanging from a giant hoop, scantily clad in a barely-there white bodysuit and wearing an oversized white Gucci purse.[193] The success of her single, "Umbrella" also inked an endorsement deal with Totes.[194][195] Her handlers pitched her hit "Umbrella" to Totes and the song became the soundtrack for commercials in which she starred.[196] On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Rihanna inked a fragrance deal with Jay-Z’s licensing company Iconic Fragrances.[197] Iconic Fragrance will launch the fragrance in the summer of 2010.[198][199] Rihanna confirmed whilst on the radio show "Valentine In The Morning" that her new fragrance is called "Route 22".[200]

Rihanna is working with her artistic director for Rated R, Simon Henwood, on the book Rihanna: The Last Girl on Earth. It is scheduled for release on June 29, 2010.[201][202]

Film projects

In 2007, Rihanna began showing interest in making film appearances.[203] She made her acting debut in a cameo role to the film Bring It On: All or Nothing, released on August 8, 2006.[115] During this time, she stated that singing was always the bigger picture, but she definitely wants to get into acting as well.[115] Rihanna also made an appearance as the central character in Kanye West's music video "Paranoid".[5][204] According to the Daily News, Rihanna has been taking acting classes during her time in New York, and will make her acting debut in Personal Protection, due to start filming later this year.[205][206]


Rihanna created her Believe Foundation in 2006 to help terminally ill children.[207][208] Rihanna explained her reasons for starting the Foundation saying, "When I was young and I would watch television and I would see all the children suffering, I always said: when I grow up, I want to help."[209] Rihanna has also performed a number of concerts to raise funds for both charities and the Foundation and is also a 2008 Cartier Love Charity Bracelet Ambassador. She performed at Madonna’s Raising Malawi fundraiser on February 6, 2008 in New York City .[210] After becoming an honorary cultural ambassador for Barbados, Rihanna became involed with DKMS, an international donor network based in Tübingen, Germany, to try to find a donor for Lisa Gershowitz Flynn.[211] She was diagnosed in November with acute myelogenous leukemia.[212]

In January 2008, Rihanna contributed in the fight against AIDS when she visited the H&M in New York to support Fashion Against AIDS by presenting her t-shirt design and signing autographs for a limited time with slogans like "Believe" and "Stop and Think."[213] The collection features t-shirts and hoodies designed by Rihanna, Timbaland and other well-known designers, musicians and artists.[214] The line, called Fashion Against AIDS, was launched in February 2008 to raise awareness of the disease among teens and spread awareness about HIV/AIDS.[215] In August 2008, Rihanna and other pop, rock, R&B and country singers such as Carrie Underwood, Ciara, Beyoncé Knowles, Leona Lewis, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and Fergie recorded the charity single, "Just Stand Up!", the theme song to the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer and its theme song.[216] The singers performed the song live on September 5, 2008.[217] In 2008, Rihanna was selected as the spokes model for Gucci’s first United Nations Children's Fund ad campaign.[218] She appeared in the fashion house’s Tattoo Heart campaign, which premiered in December 2008.[219] Rihanna was photographed in series of special edition print ads with United Nations Children's Fund items, twenty-five percent of sales will benefit the children’s charity.[220]

On November 19, 2008, Rihanna was enlisted by Gucci's Frida Giannini along with Madonna to light the United Nations Children's Fund Christmas snowflake in New York City at the Grand Army Plaza.[221] In 2008, she became the global representative and the face of the 4th annual Gucci Campaign to Benefit United Nations Children's Fund. The campaign aimed to raise funds for children in Africa through the sale of its Tattoo Heart collection of bags, which launched worldwide on November 19, 2008.[222] Rihanna has also been apart of many benefit concerts to help raise money for various illnesses, such as cancer for Hope Rocks.[223] Rihanna performed on January 20, 2009 at the Recording Industry Association of America's Presidential Inauguration Charity Ball to raise money for the world largest anti-hunger organization.[224][225][226]

On April 2, 2009, Rihanna visited the NYU Medical Centre to help look for another bone marrow donor for a young girl named Jasmina Anema.[227][228] Rihanna first learned about Anema's plight in February 2009, when she saw the moving video Anema's best friend, Isabelle Huurman, and her mother, Karen Detrick, made appealing for donors to save Anema.[229] Rihanna honored Anema's best friend, Isabella, for her efforts for trying to save her best friend at a DKMS Gala on May 7, 2009. Jasmina Anema eventually received her transplant on June 11, 2009,[230][231][232] but died on January 27, 2010.[citation needed]

In September 2009, Rihanna performed at Jay-Z's "Answer to Call" concert, which paid tribute to the police officers and firefighters who died on the September 11 attacks.[233]


  • Music of the Sun (2005)
  • A Girl Like Me (2006)
  • Good Girl Gone Bad (2007)
  • Rated R (2009)


  • Rihanna 2006 Tour (2006)
  • The Good Girl Gone Bad Tour (2007–09)
  • Glow in the Dark Tour (2008)
  • Rated R Tour (2010)

References and Notes

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