It’s the year 2017 and while the rest of the world feels like it’s slowly burning to the ground, Rihanna is effing THRI-VING. Let’s be honest: she’s the only thing that kept this year from being a complete shit show.
This woman slays in all areas of life, from fashion to philanthropy, and when it comes to the causes she cares about, she puts her money where her mouth is—literally. She demands no recognition for her charitable work, and continues to fight for equality in ways big (the super inclusive 40-shade range of her Fenty Beauty foundation) and small (her intolerance for body shaming). She’s one of the only pop stars who has refused to change who she is and in doing so, she inspires us all to love ourselves unconditionally. She doesn’t preach, she leads by example.
Plus, her music has been the soundtrack to some of the most memorable moments of my life, from dancing wildly to “We Found Love” to pondering the beautiful metaphor that is Umbrella (ella, ella, eh, eh, etc.) One of my most fulfilling moments ever was showing my parents the video for “Work” and having a convo with them about how amazing she is. If I die today, I’ll die happy knowing I brought Rihanna to a couple of seniors (sorry, Mom and Dad.)
So yeah, this year hasn’t been the greatest, but here’s a friendly reminder (as if you need one) of all the ways Rihanna made it a little less crappy.
She won Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award
RiRi started 2017 off with a freaking BANG. Back in February, she was honoured with the Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award. (Or Harvard was honoured to award her, IDK.) In 2006—at only 18, just to make us all feel bad about ourselves—she founded the Believe Foundation, an organization that helps terminally ill children get the care they need. And that’s def not all. Over the past five years alone, Rihanna became an ambassador for UNICEF’s Tap clean water program, started the Clara Lionel Foundation—which funds education and health programs in impoverished countries around the globe—in honour of her grandparents and donated millions to scholarship funds and health causes around the world.
In her Harvard acceptance speech, which is equal parts funny and poignant, RiRi flips her hair and says, “I made it to Harvard.” (Step aside, Elle Woods, amiright?). “We’re all human and we all just want a chance. A chance at life, a chance at an education, a chance at a future, really… All you need to do is help one person. To me, that is a humanitarian,” she continues.
She didn’t give an F about Diplo
A word to the wise: Rihanna doesn’t care about your hype!!! Speaking to GQ, Diplo recounted the cringe-worthy moment when Rihanna turned down a collaboration with him, saying his track “sounds like a reggae song at an airport.” Dead. And her apology was almost funnier. #DutyFree
She broke mad Billboard records, without even releasing an album
Is Rihanna the only artist who can break a bunch of music records in a year without actually releasing an album? I mean! Our queen became the first one to ever hit five No. 1’s on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart with “Desperado,” “Wild Thoughts,” “Sex With Me,” “Pose” and “Love on the Brain.” Yes, she beat Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Katy Perry. Eat our shorts!
May I suggest you press play and listen happily while reading the rest of this post?
She launched Fenty Beauty (and subsequently the most diverse line of foundations ever)
This year, literally no one cared that winter was coming because Fenty Beauty came earlier. Easily the most highly-anticipated beauty line in years, Rihanna officially released Fenty Beauty on September 8 and it was a blessed day. She’s since had multiple new product launches from her sparkling Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette to her epic Stunna Lip Paint—and Mattemoiselle, her new lipstick is up next—but the real talk of the town was her insanely diverse line of foundation, featuring 40 different shades that match literally EVERY skin tone (we’d know, we tried ’em all.)
Also, remember that time she casually schooled us all on tokenizing people and using them as marketing tools?
— savage (@lbertootero) November 29, 2017
She had the best response to body-shamers
On May 30, sports blog Barstool Sports posted a disgusting—and since-deleted—critique of Rihanna’s body. Writer Chris Spags shamed the Barbadian singer for appearing to have gained a few pounds and implied that she’s going to make weight gain “trendy.” He also tweeted about it, making himself look like an even bigger asshat. In true RiRi fashion, she said a lot without saying much at all by sharing a meme of Gucci Mane at two different weights with the caption, “If you can’t handle me at my 2006 Gucci Mane, you don’t deserve me at my 2017 Gucci Mane.”
She owned the red carpet at her first appearance at the Cannes Film Festival
Rihanna may have been a Cannes newbie, but a fashion newbie she is N-O-T. While all of her looks were equally fire during the bougie French madness, when she hit the carpet in her white Dior gown and slim ’90s shades, I died and came back to life.
She had a street named after her in her home country of Barbados
One of the many things I adore about Rihanna is her love for Barbados. This woman spends so much time giving back to the country she came from that they actually named a street after her. BRB, just relocating to Rihanna Drive.
But honestly, Rihanna deserves to have every street named after her. Absolute hell for Google Maps, but worth it.
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