International recoding artiste Robyn ‘Rihanna’ Fenty cuts the cord to unveil the new signage for Rihanna Drive as Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Freundel Stuart (on her left) and scores of official guests and adoring fans look on.

Rihanna Drive unveiled

Barbadian star thrilled with honour

International recording artiste, Barbados’ own Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty, is honoured to have Westbury New Road, the neighbourhood where her dreams started, renamed Rihanna Drive.

She stated this last night at an unveiling ceremony for the new signage.

Dressed in a beautiful yellow dress, Rihanna joined thousands of Barbadians who observed the island’s 51st anniversary of Independence yesterday, and this industrious daughter of the soil was beaming with pride as she, alongside Prime Minister the Honourable Freundel Stuart, unveiled the signage to Rihanna Drive.

Through Rihanna Drive, stands the house where the award-winning artiste spent most of her childhood days dreaming about someday making it big in the music industry. It was through that Drive that she walked around singing and listening to her elders as they sought to guide her along the right path.

Also last night, Prime Minister Stuart conferred on the singing sensation the title of Cultural Ambassador of Barbados.

The showers of blessings did not stop the residents Rihanna Drive, her family and friends, Parliamentarians, and other distinguished guests, from gathering to witness the historic occasion.

There was a rousing round of applause and scores of voices cheered on Rihanna, as she unveiled the plaque, which carries a written message from the songstress and is strategically placed at the beginning of the Drive.

Rihanna herself delivered a brief, but moving and inspiring message to the people of Barbados.

“My dreams were born on this very street right here and I know that saying ‘Believe in your dreams’ sounds cliché, but I guarantee you the only thing that got me where [I am now] was believing in my dreams,” Rihanna said.

The multi-talented Barbadian, who is a musician, actress, designer, model, entrepreneur, and world-class iconic personality, and now Cultural Ambassador, told the large audience that she never doubted the fact that her dreams would someday become reality.

“I didn’t know how it was going to happen. I know I was hidden away under this little rock, Barbados, and how would anybody find me? But I always knew it would happen. I always focussed on the result, and that kind of faith – it really was just that, childlike faith – even now when I get a little bit discouraged or doubtful, it’s the thing that I go back to. Having faith in God,” she stressed.

Rihanna encouraged, not just the people of the Westbury community, but the entire country, especially young men and women who think the world is against them, to believe in the possibility of their dreams coming through.

“I want to give a special thanks to all my neighbours in Westbury New Road. You all had a part and hand in raising me, and [making me] the woman that I am, the discipline that I have. Let me tell you, you can’t hide nothing in Westbury New Road, hear. You do anything, you mother gine know before you finish doing it.

“So I am very grateful for that kind of backbone, and that kind of foundation. I couldn’t have it any better way and I believe that I was here for a reason. I just want you guys to never forget that faith can go a very long way,” Rihanna added.

During his remarks, Prime Minister Stuart indicated that the ceremony, which added a special touch to this year’s Independence Day, will forever be etched in the minds of Barbadians as an Independence Day when a richly deserved honour was conferred on a most outstanding young Barbadian. He said the honour was a fitting way to express deep appreciation to Rihanna for the many ways in which she has shown her love for Barbados.

“Today’s ceremony represents the Government’s commitment to dispel the notion that “a prophet is not without honour save in his own country”. These words were spoken by Jesus in Biblical times, but can be applied equally today any time we fail to recognise the talents and accomplishments of our own people.

“In independent, modern Barbados, we must not allow ourselves to fall into this trap. In particular, we must not forget our people located in the Diaspora, many of whom have registered outstanding achievements,” he said.

Stuart reminded that under the leadership of the late Prime Minister, David Thompson, the Government bestowed on Rihanna in February 2008, the title of honorary Youth and Cultural Ambassador for her enormous contribution to the world of entertainment.

“As we gather here today, in Westbury New Road, the neighbourhood in which Rihanna was raised, I feel the pride of the community for, as they say in a well-known traditional African proverb: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.

“Rihanna, this community and the entire population of Barbados will continue to follow your meteoric rise as you blaze a trail in all aspects of your fascinating career. I think we can safely say that your name is known in every corner of the world,” Stuart said.

During the two-hour long ceremony, which was followed by an after party, entertainment was provided by winner of the 2017 Richard Stoute Talent Competition, Trinity Clarke, artiste Nikita Herbert, and the students of Westbury Primary School. (AH)

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