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Barbados celebrates becoming a republic and, in an overnight ceremony, bestows Rihanna the honour ‘National Hero of Barbados’. 

The event, which fell on Barbados’ 55th anniversary of independence, was held in the capital, Bridgetown, on November 30th. During the ceremony, Rihanna was declared a ‘National Hero of Barbados’ as a result of her work promoting tourism and investment in the country. 

Rihanna, whose birth name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was born in Barbados in 1988 and moved to the U.S. 20 years later after being discovered by an American record producer. Since leaving for the U.S, the proud Barbadian national has remained invested in the country’s educational, tourism and investment pursuits, holding titles including ‘Honorary Cultural Ambassador’ and ‘Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary’. 

Sandra Mason - Jeff J Mitchell

Sandra Mason © Jeff J Mitchell

While granting the title of ‘National Hero of Barbados’ to Rihanna, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley said, “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your words, by your actions, and to give credit wherever you shall do it.” 

The monumental ceremony marked a critical turning point in Barbadian history and celebrated the country’s ongoing independence. After displays of Barbadian music and dance, moving speeches celebrating the end of colonialism, Barbados’ first president, Sandra Mason, was formally inaugurated. In a speech, Mason told onlookers “Today, debate and discourse have become action. Today, we set our compass to a new direction.”

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