Rihanna has traveled the world, performed countless sold out shows, set music records, and has inspired a generation of young women to be exactly who they want to be. Oh, and she’s done it all while giving back to her home country of Barbados and several other communities around the world.
Now, the Bajan megastar has one more award to add to her already full resume: Humanitarian of the Year.
In a statement about the honor, Harvard Foundation director S. Allen Counter explained why Rihanna deserved the honor:
Rihanna has charitably built a state-of- the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados.
In 2012, she founded the nonprofit the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program [named for her grandparents] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, which provides children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls, and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today.
During her acceptance speech, Rihanna said her passion to give back started when she was very young.
“When I was five or six years old, I remember watching TV and I would see these commercials and I was watching other children suffer in other parts of the world,” she told the crowd. “I would say to myself you know, ‘when I grow up, when I can get rich, I’mma save kids all over the world.’ I just didn’t know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager.”
The pop star also encouraged those in attendance to use their lives to help others.
“I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person: one organization, one situation that touches your heart,” she said. “My grandmother always used to say, ‘If you’ve got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.'”
Watch Rihanna’s entire speech above.
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Senior Producer, EBONY.com