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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Robyn Fenty for president


Why I want to be Rihanna when I grow up

My life was forever changed in 2005 when a young woman from the small island of Barbados named Robyn Rihanna Fenty (or as many may know her, Rihanna) stepped onto the scene. Songs like “Pon de Replay”, “Umbrella” and  “Rude Boy” helped form me into the woman I am today.

Rihanna is a great role model for me for several reasons. For only being 31 years old, she has accomplished great feats.

Rihanna’s 2016 album “Anti” has been a formative part of not only the later part of my adolescence but my early 20s as well. Each song represents a different chapter or part of my life, and the album itself even has great “replay” value.

Not to mention she has 13 Billboard Music Awards, nine Grammys, 13 American Music Awards, eight People’s Choice Awards and she is the first and only artist to ever surpass more than 100 million Gold and Platinum song certifications. However, Rihanna’s musical talents and list of accolades are not the only reason I aspire to be like her.

Rihanna began to build her brand when she released a line of shoes with Puma in September 2016 including the famous Fenty creeper, a velvet or suede platform sneaker that comes in many colors and styles.

Then, she launched her Fenty Beauty makeup line in September 2017 which included her Pro Filt’R matte foundation which initially came in 40 shades but now comes in 50 total shades. This was revolutionary because big brands like Tarte Cosmetics, YSL Beauty and Too Faced Cosmetics did not offer shades for dark skin women. Rihanna’s foundation not only has plenty of shades for dark skin women ranging in warm, neutral and cool tones, but also foundation shades for people who have albinism.

Since the release of her makeup line, it is the only foundation I wear because I feel recognized in it. Especially knowing it came from another brown girl with a big forehead and a dream.

Rihanna then released her lingerie line, Savage X Fenty in May 2018. The line prides itself on using models of all shapes, sizes, colors, nations and creeds in its advertisements.

The brand itself is one created to make all women feel empowered and good about themselves regardless of what their bodies might be shaped like.

On the brand’s website, Rihanna says, “My vision for Savage X has always been inclusivity, has always been having women feel confident and expressing themselves through a little lace, a little corsetry, a little T-Shirt bra.”

Most recently, Savage X Fenty took its talents to the runway and put on a show in September 2019 that was all about women and nothing about the male gaze. The show boasted a cast of racially diverse women, disabled women, trans women and women of all sizes, making sure all women saw themselves on that stage and felt empowered.

Rihanna stated, “I’m looking for unique characteristics in people that aren’t usually highlighted in the world of fashion as it pertains to lingerie and sexy, or what society sees as sexy,” and this is extremely important.

Rihanna is not only helping women and girls feel empowered in their bodies, but in their minds too. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), over 130 million girls globally are unable to go to school.

In 2016, Rihanna became the first Global Ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education, a multi-stakeholder partnership and funding platform that helps fund education for children in over 65 developing countries. And in 2012, Rihanna started the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) which is dedicated to “improving the quality of life for young people everywhere.” With both organizations, Rihanna has helped raise sizable amounts of money for the education of children, with an emphasis on young girls.

Rihanna, along with the Prime Minister of Australia, spent a week in Malawi in southeastern Africa in January 2017. They met with the people, heard their issues surrounding education and visited the schools that do exist but are largely over crowded.

To help the school girls in Malawi, 1 KM Action was created to provide scholarships. The girls who qualify for it also receive bikes to ensure they can make it to school. Oftentimes girls must travel great distances in developing countries just to go to school, and this can lead to great dangers.

However, providing girls with a means of transportation to get to class is a small and meaningful step towards ensuring all girls get the education they deserve.

For her efforts, Rihanna was named the Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year in 2017, a title that has been granted to activists like Dolores Huerta and Malala Yousafzai.

I want to be like Rihanna when I grow up because she is an exemplary human being. She uses her elevated status and platform to elevate others and it’s beautiful.

Rihanna may not call herself a feminist outright, but she lives the life and embodies what it means to be a proper intersectional feminist.

Rihanna has made this world her own regardless of any opposition she might have had, and is continuing to open doors for others.

For that, she is a true Queen and we should all strive to be a bit more like Bad Gal Riri.

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