[Contributing Writer: John Carlos]
We say kudos!
To the relationship which has blossomed between the country of Barbados and songstress Robyn Rihanna Fenty. This may be very well the beginning of another journey of this young lady who continues to push the envelope and also represent her personal brand and that of the county Barbados. A closer look at Rihanna and we can see that she has moved from just a single product of music and entertainment to a broad span.
This Bajan has under her portfolio from perfumes and makeup to more recently some of the hottest lingerie out. It is good that she continues to position herself to be the global icon which she truly is, and it proves that it can happen for anyone who really put their mindset to it. The beauty of this young woman’s growth is that she remains personable, and full of personality, and has not lost her “roots”.
It must be noted that in Barbados, the culture of the people is to treat everyone like everyone else, so – if you are a celebrity – then they’ll probably say – “okay that’s good…nod and continue as normal” It means that if Rihanna wanted to walk along the Bridgetown Capital, she can do so unhindered since she’ll be treated as a regular citizen among her people going for a stroll.
No mobs – No fainting – No nothing… Just a few waves, and a few quick – hi’s /hello’s, a selfie here or there and business as usual – see you next time you are here…
Some sources place her fortune at just around the ball park of US $245 Million, and this may very well be a conservative calculation. For the island and people of Barbados, it is a positive thing that they have formed this alliance. If you take a trip to Barbados, and on any good day, a taxi driver will be sure to take you where her original family home is located. This shows that there is an underlying pride to show off Bajan Girl – Rihanna. While you visit Barbados that taxi driver will also likely ensure that you visit the plush villa on the west cost of the island which is also said to be owned by Rihanna.
Those taxi drivers understand the business and how tourism impacts positively on the Barbados economy.
Barbadians the world over can attest to this… And it is this. They state that they are from such an island as Barbados – the only island in the Atlantic Ocean and reference inevitably goes to – Where is Barbados? and the simple answer is – “Rihanna Country”, immediately a knowing and wanton appearance and maybe even a hint of desire to visit is expressed by the receiver… Therefore for Barbados at a Governmental level to reach this point is now indeed significant. To begin to quantify this relationship would be absurd as it can almost be likened to a parent-child relationship.
We believe this is more than obvious that the newly restructured Barbados creative industries has its role to play as this young lady continues to bring in a chuck from her music as well as to fight for what is rightfully hers – in true Barbadian style. Further to this, she also knows how to partner, as she has not lost the nerve to keep representing her country.
This is sometimes tough as sometime your own prophet is not honored in their own country, and such was the case early on in her walk, until now.
She has true mettle as, once – Al Jarreau visited to perform for the now defunct Barbados Jazz Festival. He said that the “Barbados audience was one of the most difficult audiences to perform too…” However, we know of Barbadian who have actually left Barbados to watch Rihanna in her element, and have come back to the island and expressed the brilliance and were lost for words.
Quoting the Prime Minister of Barbados via the Government Information Service, she said:
“Rihanna has a deep love for this country and this is reflected in her philanthropy, especially in the areas of health and education. She also shows her patriotism in the way she gives back to this country and continues to treasure the island as her home.
“She has also demonstrated, beyond her success as a pop icon, significant creative acumen and shrewdness in business. It is therefore fitting that we engage and empower her to play a more definitive role as we work to transform Barbados,” Ms. Mottley stated, noting that her charitable contributions, both locally and internationally, have also been significant.
This is also a fabulous way to show women that the proverbial glass ceiling can still be broken, even from a Caribbean perspective.
It is poignant that The University of the West Indies, has also joined the list of Institutions that have recognized the significance of this global icon. This was done in particular to the significant philanthropic work which Rihanna takes on, and one of the more visible is the local Queen Elizabeth Hospital. One of the key things here is that we also have a modern day heroin, who demonstrates how to fight in a male dominated society and without losing her edge.
Perhaps we can put some of this down to true Caribbean cultural influences as well, since there is that unique Bajan and Guyanese mixed in. This step has also reinforced especially with the mindset of older Barbadians, that the Performing Arts is yet a viable avenue as a career. This is critical as Barbados is on an economic precipice, and the likelihood that the creative economy may very well be one of the routes to its recovery.
What better example to parents and young adults to consider this as a way to make an honest living, as we have practically a blue-print in Rihanna. It is not for an exact copy as no one likes imitation, however, why reinvent the wheel when we can consider this Ambassador’s path to her success and possibly have a Barbados Ted-Talk Series with her…
The potential that lies herein in this updated relationship is significant, once it is managed with the right hands. Knowing Rihanna, she’ll likely take a strong lead. Looking forward…
Again we say KUDOS!!!