Women's Month started off on a high note when Harvard University awarded the Humanitarian of the Year Award to one #GirlBoss, Robyn Rihanna Fenty. In case you didn't know, Rihanna has been contributing huge efforts in providing financial assistance for a breast cancer treatment center in her homeland Barbados and also founded the Clara Lionel Foundation for impoverished communities across the globe, which focuses on healthcare and education.
During the awarding ceremony, we learned five more things from the speeches honoring @badgalriri, and her own acceptance speech.
1. Charity commercials on television inspired Rihanna to be a humanitarian. Growing up, Rihanna always hoped to save kids all over the world. Little did she know, she could make her dreams a reality at the age of 18 when she set up her first charity. "I remember watching TV and I would see these commercials and I was watching other children suffer in other parts of the world and you know the commercials were [like], 'You can give 25 cents, save a child's life,' you know? And I would think to myself like, I wonder how many 25 cents I could save up to save all the kids in Africa."
2. Rihanna is still the same Robyn from Barbados. One of the biggest reasons why she started charity work is because of the children in her home country, Barbados. "The soul we feel.. .when we feel her music, is the same soul that remembers the struggles that children face in her native Barbados and around the world," says Dylan de Waart from Harvard University. He then adds, "And it’s the soul that recognizes that oftentimes, all these kids need is a chance: A chance at a better life, a chance to chase their dreams."
3. Rihanna uses her fame for a good cause... and has her Rihanna Navy to back her up. "She has consistently used the scope and scale of her influence to better the lives of many, to save the lives of many, and to raise awareness for important advocacy work," says Doni Lehman, a senior at Harvard University. And like any other "influencer," Rihanna took to social media to connect with politicians and seek support.
4. All she wanted is to be an inspiration to women. In a line from one of Rihanna's speeches, Lehman quoted the singer with, "That’s all I ever hoped for: To have a positive effect on women. 'Cause women are powerful, powerful beings, but they're also the most doubtful beings. They'll never know, we'll never know, how powerful we are.” Lehman affirms this by saying "through your power, you help women realize their own."
5. Rihanna believes that everyone can "shine bright like a diamond," too! Giving a helping hand may seem to be a tough commitment, but Rihanna reminds us that it starts with you and your drive to make a difference. "As I stare out into this beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. I know that each and every one of you has the opportunity to help someone else. All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian."
Not so bad for @badgalriri, eh?
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Screenshots and banner image from the Harvard University YouTube channel