Rihanna Drive resident Kathy ‘Ife’ Harris speaking about Rihanna’s upbringing in the neighbourhood.

Rihanna (right) applauds the performances on Thursday night as Prime Minister the Honourable Freundel Stuart looks on.

Students of Westbury Primary delivering a dramatic piece entitled ‘Rihanna’.

Rihanna Drive community show pride for ‘our’ Robyn

THE residents of Westbury New Road, recently renamed Rihanna Drive, are pleased to have their neighbourhood renamed after their very own home girl, international recording artiste, Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty.

Speaking on behalf of residents at a special renaming ceremony on Thursday, Independence Day, one of the elders of the community, Kathy “Ife” Harris declared that “Westbury is now a brand name area”.

“We have a reputation – a positive one! Rihanna has given hope to the children of this neighbourhood and Barbados; that they can dare to dream, that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or your humble beginnings; that you can make things happen by taking a risk, extending and exposing yourself, your fears and insecurities, by making your dreams a reality,” she said.

Harris noted that while many Barbadian artistes have assisted with placing Barbados on the map, the special feeling of pride of seeing Rihanna on the world stage is very encouraging. However, she said of equal importance to the citizens of Barbados, should be honing the skills of talented citizens.

“Our citizens are gifted in writing, singing, dancing, sports and music. These skills have the potential to be a major foreign exchange earner, as our country looks to other avenues to sustain national development.

“It is encouraging to see how Rihanna has shone; how a tap in the well of intellectual property can result in an ocean of opportunity and wealth. Rihanna has shown the people of Barbados how you can dream big and achieve great success,” she said.

Harris said that the time when Rihanna brought the queen of television – Oprah Winfrey – to see where she was raised in Westbury New Road, will always remain a memorable occasion for those who were present.

She stressed that normally, when some people “make it” they forget where they come from and act ashamed of their friends and family. “Not our girl Rihanna. It warms my heart to see she is still family-oriented, still has her childhood friends, still comes to the old neighbourhood being our Robyn. She is still nice, simple, kind and respectful,” she said. (AH)

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