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Not to be confused with Rhianna.
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Rihanna performing during the V Festival in August 2011
Background information
Birth name Robyn Rihanna Fenty
Born February 20, 1988 (1988-02-20) (age 23)
Saint Michael, Barbados
Genres R&B, pop, dancehall, reggae, hip hop, dance
Occupations singer, occasional songwriter
Years active 2005–present
Labels Def Jam
Associated acts Chris Brown, Jay Z
Rihanna’s signature

Robyn Rihanna Fenty (play /riˈɑːnə/ ree-ah-nə or /riˈænə/ ree-an; born February 20, 1988), better known as simply Rihanna, is a Barbadian recording artist.[1] Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for then-label head Jay-Z.[2]

In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single “Pon de Replay.” Less than a year later, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), which peaked within the top five of the Billboard albums chart, and produced her first Hot 100 number one single, “SOS“. Rihanna’s third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), spawned four chart-topping singles “Umbrella“, “Take a Bow“, “Disturbia” and “Don’t Stop the Music“, and was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, just winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Umbrella,” which features Jay-Z. Her fourth studio album Rated R, released in November 2009, produced the top 10 singles “Russian Roulette“, “Hard” and “Rude Boy“, which achieved the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Loud (2010), her fifth studio album, contains the number-one hits “Only Girl (In the World)“, “What’s My Name?” and “S&M“.[3][4]We Found Love” was released in September 2011 as the lead single from her sixth studio album and has topped the charts in over ten countries. Talk That Talk, Rihanna’s sixth album, was released in November 2011.

Rihanna has sold more than 20 million albums and 60 million singles[5] which makes her one of the best selling artists of all time. She is the youngest artist in Billboard charts history to achieve eleven number-one singles on the Hot 100.[6] As of January 2011, Rihanna had sold approximately 33.7 million digital singles in the United States.[7] By September 2011 she had shipped 7.3 million album units in the US.[8] Billboard named Rihanna the Digital Songs Artist of the 2000s decade,[9] and ranked her as the 17th Artist of the 2000s decade.[10] She has received several accolades, including the 2007 World Music Awards for World’s Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, and the 2011 Brit Award for Best International Female Solo Artist.[11] She has also amassed a total of four Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and eighteen Billboard Music Awards. Rihanna has also been appointed the official ambassador of youth and culture for Barbados.[12]




1988–2004: Early life and career beginnings

Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados, to Monica Braithwaite, a retired accountant, and Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor for a garment factory.[13] Her mother, a native of Guyana, is Afro-Guyanese, and her father is of Barbadian and Irish descent.[14] The eldest of three siblings, she has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty.[15] She also has two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father’s side, each born by different mothers before Rihanna’s father married her mother.[16][17] She grew up listening to reggae music,[18] and began singing at around the age of seven.[15] Her childhood was deeply affected by her father’s addiction to crack cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana,[19] and her parents’ rocky marriage ended when she was 14, although he remained a part of her life.[13] During her parents’ marriage, she suffered from excruciating headaches leading doctors to think she had a brain tumor and underwent several CAT scans from the age of eight until her parents separated.[20] She grew up in a modest three-bed bungalow in Bridgetown and would sell clothes with her dad on a street stall.[21] She attended Charles F. Broome Memorial School, a primary school in Barbados, and then the Combermere School, where she formed a musical trio with two of her classmates.[15] She was an army cadet in a sub-military programme that trained with the military of Barbados and Shontelle was her drill sergeant.[22] Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue her musical career instead.[23]

In December 2003, Rihanna met American music producer Evan Rogers through a mutual friend who knew Rogers’ wife.[24] When Rogers and his Bajan-born wife were in Barbados for the holidays, Rihanna and her two bandmates auditioned for him in his hotel room,[25] who said that “the minute Rihanna walked into the room, it was like the other two girls didn’t exist.” While auditioning for Rogers, she sang Destiny’s Child‘s cover of “Emotion“.[15] Impressed, Rogers set up a second meeting, and, with her mom present, invited her to do some recording and write with him and Carl Sturken at their studio in New York.[26] Shortly after turning 16, she won the Miss Combermere school beauty pageant, as well as her high school talent show with a performance of Mariah Carey‘s “Hero“.[27] Over the next year, Rihanna and her mom shuttled back and forth to Rogers’ home in Stamford, Connecticut. With the help of Sturken, she recorded a four-song demo,[28] which included the ballad “Last Time”, a cover of Whitney Houston‘s “For the Love of You“,[15] and what would become her first hit, “Pon de Replay“. It took a year to record the demos, as Rihanna was still going to school and therefore would only record during her summer and Christmas school breaks.[15]

In January 2005, Rogers began shopping Rihanna’s four-song demo to various recording companies.[15] A copy of the demo was sent to Def Jam Recordings, where Jay Brown, an A&R executive, overheard it and played it for the label’s then-president, Jay-Z.[29] When he heard “Pon de Replay”, Jay-Z was skeptical about Rihanna at first because he felt that the song was too big for her, stating that “when a song is that big, it’s hard [for a new artist] to come back from. I don’t sign songs, I sign artists”.[29] Def Jam was the first label to respond and invited her to audition where she sang “For the Love of You” for Jay-Z and L.A. Reid of Island Def Jam Music Group.[27] She was signed the same day and canceled a set of meetings with other labels.[28] After signing with Def Jam in February 2005, she relocated to the United States and moved in with Rogers and his wife. Although she still thinks of herself as Robyn, she chose her middle name as her stage name because, to her, the name Rihanna is just a stage that started in a recording studio in 2005.[30]

2005–06: Music of the Sun and A Girl Like Me

Rihanna performing at the Jingle Ball in 2005

After signing with Def Jam, she spent the next three months recording and completing her debut album.[2] The album featured production from Evan Rogers, Carl Sturken, Stargate and Poke & Tone.[31] She first collaborated with rapper Memphis Bleek on his fourth studio album 534 before her debut. She released her debut single, “Pon de Replay“, on August 22, 2005, which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.[32] It became a global hit where it peaked within the top ten across fifteen countries. Her debut album, Music of the Sun, was released in August 2005[33] in the United States. The album reached number ten on the Billboard 200, selling 69,000 copies in its first week.[34] The album sold over two million copies worldwide and received a Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America, denoting shipments to United States retailers of over 500,000 units.[35]

Her music was marketed within the reggae genres because of her Caribbean descent. The album received mixed reviews by music critics. Rolling Stone magazine rated it 2.5 out of 5 stars and described as lacking the replay value, ingenuity and rhythm of the single with “generic vocal hiccups and frills” of US R&B inflecting upon her “Caribbean charm”.[36] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described the album as a “glut of teen R&B chanteuses ” and described her lead single “Pon de Replay” as “a dancehall-pop mixture that owes plenty of its sweat and shimmy to Beyoncé‘s “Baby Boy“.[31] A reviewer for Entertainment Weekly commented that the “dancehall/R&B debut is filled with chintzy production and maudlin arrangements that block out the Music of the Sun.”[37] The albums second single, “If It’s Lovin’ that You Want[38] was less successful than “Pon de Replay”, having managed a peak position of number thirty-six in the United States, and number eleven in the United Kingdom.[32] The single proved to be well-received in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand reaching the top ten in those countries.

A month after the release of her debut album, she began working on her second studio album.[39] The album contained production from record producers Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken who produced most of her debut album, Stargate, J. R. Rotem and label-mate singer-songwriter Ne-Yo.[40] While recording the album, Rihanna served as an opening act for Gwen Stefani to promote her debut album.[41] The lead single, “SOS“, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first number-one in the United States.[32] A Girl Like Me was released in April 2006,[42] less than eight months after her debut. The album reached number five on the Billboard 200[34] selling 115,000 copies in its first week and has been certified platinum by the RIAA, having shipped over one million units.[35][43] Internationally, the album peaked at number one on the Top Canadian Albums, five on the UK Albums Chart and number five on the Irish Album Chart. The critical response to the album was mixed; Rolling Stone magazine commented “Like her filler-packed debut album, this similar but superior follow-up doesn’t deliver anything else as ingenious as its lead single.”[44] Critics described the album as a record that almost identically alternates between the sunny dancehall/dub-pop, hip-hop-infused club bangers and gushy, adult-oriented ballads.[45]

The second single, “Unfaithful“, became a major worldwide hit, reaching the top ten in dozen countries around the world, including the United States where it reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as topping the charts in Canada, France and Switzerland. The albums third single, “We Ride[46] failed to reprise the success of the lead single but the fourth single, “Break It Off” featuring Sean Paul, jumped from number fifty-two to number ten eventually peaking at number nine.[47][48] After the release of the album, Rihanna embarked on her first headlining tour, the Rihanna: Live in Concert Tour. She then embarked on the Rock The Block Tour and then toured with Pussycat Dolls from November 2006 to February 2007 in the United Kingdom.[49] Rihanna also made her acting debut in a cameo role in the straight-to-DVD film Bring It On: All or Nothing, which was released on August 8, 2006.[50]

2007–08: New image and Good Girl Gone Bad

Rihanna performing at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre

With her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), Rihanna wanted to head in a new direction with the help of music producers Timbaland, and Sean Garrett, and re-imagine her album compositions[51] with fresh, uptempo dance tracks.[52] She adopted a more rebellious image while recording the album, eventually dying her hair black and cutting it short. Rihanna commented, “I want to keep people dancing but still be soulful at the same time […] You feel different every album, and [at] this stage I feel like I want to do a lot of uptempo [songs].”[52] The album topped the charts in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Russia and Ireland, and it peaked at number two in the United States and Australia. Unlike previous work, the album featured a more dance-pop sound instead of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles. The album received positive reviews by critics, becoming her most critically acclaimed album at that time compared to her previous efforts.[53]

Good Girl Gone Bad yielded four chart-topping singles – all singles reaching the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 – including the worldwide number-one hit “Umbrella,” featuring Jay-Z. In addition to reaching number one in various countries, “Umbrella” was the number-one single in the United Kingdom for ten consecutive weeks,[54] making it the longest-running number-one single since Wet Wet Wet‘s single “Love Is All Around” spent fifteen weeks at the top in 1994.[55] The song is listed number three on the 100 Best Songs of 2007 published by Rolling Stone magazine.[56] Her other singles, “Shut Up and Drive“, “Don’t Stop The Music” and “Hate That I Love You“, were released from the album and were able to mirror the success of “Umbrella,” with “Don’t Stop the Music” reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 while peaking at number one in Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Switzerland.[57] At the 2007 American Music Awards, she won the Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist.

The re-issue of her third album, titled Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, which was released in June 2008, features three new songs. The first single from the re-release, “Take a Bow“,[58] topped the charts in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. “If I Never See Your Face Again“, a duet with Maroon 5,[59] was also included in the re-release, alongside “Disturbia“, which reached number-one in the United States and New Zealand.[60] “Disturbia” reached to number four before reaching number one, as her previous single, “Take a Bow”, was at number two, making Rihanna the seventh female singer to have two songs in the top five. She was also featured on rapper T.I.‘s “Live Your Life,” which peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Rihanna her fifth number-one single on the Hot 100 thus far (“SOS,” “Umbrella,” “Take a Bow,” “Disturbia,” and “Live Your Life”).[61] This made Rihanna one of the two female solo artists with the most number-one singles of the decade, with the other being Beyoncé Knowles. A remix of the album, Good Girl Gone Bad: The Remixes, was also released containing remixed versions of songs from the original album. The album has shipped over two million units in the United States, receiving a two-times-platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA); this gave Rihanna her best-selling album to date.[35]

Rihanna was nominated in four categories at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, winning Monster Single of the Year and Video of the Year.[62] At the 2008 Grammy Awards, Rihanna earned her first Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration,[63] in addition to receiving five other nominations, including Record of the Year, Best Dance Recording, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group and Best R&B Song. In support of the album, she kicked off her second headlining tour, the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour on September 12, 2007, with several shows across the United States, Canada and Europe[64] and then embarked on the Glow in the Dark Tour with Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and N.E.R.D on April 16, 2008.[65][66][67] Rihanna won Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist at the 2008 American Music Awards.[68] In December 2008, Margeaux Watson of Entertainment Weekly wrote an article entitled “Rihanna: Diva of the year” which he referred to her breakout success of 2008.[69]

2009–10: Domestic violence case and Rated R

Rihanna on the AMA red carpet in 2009

On February 8, 2009, Rihanna’s scheduled performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards was cancelled.[70] Reports later surfaced regarding an alleged altercation with then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, who was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats.[71] On March 5, 2009, Brown was charged with assault and making criminal threats.[72] Due to a leaked photograph from the Los Angeles Police Department obtained by—which revealed Rihanna had sustained visible injuries—an organization known as STOParazzi has proposed a law called “Rihanna’s Law,” which, if enacted, would “deter employees of law enforcement agencies from releasing photos or information that exploits crime victims.”[73] Gil Kaufman of VH1 reported “[t]he nonstop coverage of the Rihanna/Brown case has brought up a number of issues regarding the privacy of alleged victims of domestic violence, including the decision by almost all major news outlets to divulge the identity of the victim—which is not typically done in domestic-violence cases” and the controversial distribution of the leaked photograph.[74] Rihanna was subpoenaed to testify during a preliminary hearing in L.A. on June 22, 2009.[75] “The DA told me Rihanna will be subpoenaed. I will accept on her behalf,” Rihanna’s attorney, Donald Etra told Us Weekly.[76] On June 22, 2009, Brown pled guilty to the felony assault. In exchange for his plea Brown received five years probation and was ordered to stay fifty yards away from Rihanna, unless at public events, which then will be reduced to ten yards.[77]

Rihanna made an appearance as the central character in Kanye West‘s music video “Paranoid“.[78] She also collaborated with Jay-Z and West on “Run This Town[79] which peaked at number two on Billboard Hot 100 as well as reaching the top ten in ten other countries. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, bringing her total to three Grammys.[80] Her fourth studio album, Rated R, was released in November 2009.[81] Rolling Stone was favorable of the album commenting that “Rihanna has transformed her sound and made one of the best pop records of the year”.[82] The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of one million copies.[35] Its first three singles: “Russian Roulette“, “Hard” and “Rude Boy” peaked within the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Rude Boy” reaching number-one. The song also topped the charts in Australia, while reaching number two in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland.[83] Two other singles were released from Rated R, which included “Rockstar 101” and the final single from the album, “Te Amo“. To further promote the album, she embarked on her worldwide tour, the Last Girl on Earth Tour.

2010–present: Loud, Talk That Talk and film debut

Rihanna performing on her Loud Tour

In January 2010, Rihanna won two Barbados Music Awards for “Song of the Decade” with “Umbrella” and “Entertainer of the Decade”. She was named “International Female Artist of the Year” at the 2010 NRJ Music Awards.[84] During the summer, she collaborated with rapper Eminem on “Love the Way You Lie“, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as other countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.[85] “Love the Way You Lie” became the seventh number one Billboard Hot 100 single of her career, making her the female artist with the fifth-most number ones in the chart’s history.[86] She also lent her vocals to the hook of “All of the Lights“, the fourth single from Kanye West‘s fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which features additional vocals from several other recording artists, including John Legend, The-Dream, Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Kid Cudi, and Elton John.[87] In October 2010, she released a self-titled book,[88] and announced that she was parting ways with manager Marc Jordan and will henceforth be managed by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Management.[89] She is also starting her own company, Rihanna Entertainment, in which she will “merge all of her businesses including music, film, fragrance, fashion and book ventures”.[89]

Rihanna released her fifth studio album, Loud, on November 16, 2010.[90] It debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling 207,000 copies in its first week, making it the biggest opening week sales of her career so far.[91] Its lead single, “Only Girl (In the World)“, reached number one in more than ten countries including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[92][93][94] The song also won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording at the 53rd Grammy Awards.[95] The album’s second single, “What’s My Name?“, featuring Canadian rapper Drake, also reached number one in the United States and on the official UK singles chart, making Rihanna the first female solo artist to have five number one singles in the United Kingdom in consecutive years.[96][97] The song reached number one on the Hot 100 before “Only Girl (In the World)”, making it the first time in Hot 100 history that an album’s debut single reached number one after the second single.[98] With her third international single from Loud, she earned another milestone when “S&M“, featuring Britney Spears reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the youngest artist in the chart’s 52-year history to achieve ten number-one singles.[6]Man Down” and “California King Bed” were the two subsequent singles released from the album.[99][100][101] The final single from Loud, “Cheers (Drink to That)“, reached number seven on the Hot 100.[102] In June 2011, Rihanna embarked on her worldwide concert tour, Loud Tour, to promote the album.[103][104]

In October 2011, two collaborations featuring Rihanna were released; Coldplay‘s “Princess of China” from the album Mylo Xyloto and Nicki Minaj‘s Fly from the album Pink Friday.[105][106] During that month she appeared in the Judges’ Houses round of the American reality TV program, The X Factor, assisting L.A. Reid as a guest mentor.[107] Rihanna’s sixth album, Talk That Talk, was released on November 21, 2011 in both deluxe and standard editions.[108] The lead single “We Found Love” premiered on September 22, 2011 and was released on the same day for digital download in the US.[109] With the ascension of “We Found Love” to number nine on the US charts, Rihanna became the fastest solo artist in the chart’s history to achieve twenty Hot 100 top-ten singles, breaking the previous record set by Madonna.[110][111] The song later became Rihanna’s eleventh number one single on the Billboard Hot 100.[112]You Da One” was released as the second single on November 11, 2011 and a music video for the song is planned to be shot in London before the end of 2011.[113] Rihanna will appear in the 2012 film Battleship, which is based on the game of the same name.[114]



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“Pon de Replay” is Rihanna’s debut single. The song encompasses the reggae genre using a mixture of dance-pop and R&B.

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Volume 65 of the Contemporary Black Biography book series notes that “Rihanna is the rare rhythm and blues (R&B) diva to emerge from the Caribbean world.”[115] Becoming an international sensation, Rihanna is known for blending R&B with Caribbean music, such as reggae and dancehall.[116] At the time of her debut, reviewers referred to her as a “bubblegum queen”[117] and her music to “teen pop.”[118] Larry Meyler of The Sun stated that “Rihanna going bad is very good” and that she had “[shaken] off any ‘teen pop’ image as she rocked the stage.”[118] While performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest, Denis Armstrong of Canadian Online Explorer commented on her performance saying “her show was a Disney-esque choreographed fantasy of non-stop hip-swivelling, sassy attitude and personal endearments and a string of funky, sugar-free hits.”[117]

Rihanna performing on her Loud Tour in Sunrise, Florida

Rihanna was originally marketed as a reggae singer since she burst into the music scene in 2005, with a styles of pop, R&B and dancehall. Her music include various styles of musical genres, including contemporary R&B, dance-pop and the Caribbean music styles of reggae and dancehall.[119] With the release of Music of the Sun and its lead single “Pon de Replay“, Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic described Rihanna’s musical style as “synthesize Caribbean rhythms and beats with standard-issue urban dance-pop: Caribbean-inflected urban, if you will.”[120] Rihanna is described as utilizing “dancehall-lite beats and a reggae vocal cadence.”[120] NME describes the singer as a “heady mix of dancehall, reggae and contemporary R&B.”[121] Barry Walters of Rolling Stone considers Rihanna’s A Girl Like Me to be “lightweight dancehall and R&B jams.”[122] After the release of Good Girl Gone Bad, Allmusic’s Andy Kellman credits Rihanna to be “as pop as pop gets.”[123] Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times described her hit “Umbrella” as a lightweight pop confection with a heavy hip-hop backbeat, a breezy love song enriched by those unexpectedly goth-sounding keyboards and by the incongruous hint of anguish in Rihanna’s girlish voice.[124]

Her debut album featured production from pop veterans Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken who first discovered her. Sturken and Rogers have collaborated with Rihanna many times, including with her debut single “Pon de Replay”, which helped launch her career with the tradition of reggae and dance pop and collaborated on her second album. Rihanna then enlisted into the pop and contemporary R&B working with music producer Stargate and singer-songwriter Ne-Yo on “Unfaithful[52] and sampling the key section, bass line, and drum beat from Soft Cell‘s 1981 single “Tainted Love” on “SOS“.[125] With songs like “Kisses Don’t Lie” and “Shut Up and Drive“, her music style became more rock-oriented.[39] Unlike Music of the Sun or A Girl Like Me, her third album contained a more dance-pop sound[126] and less of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles of her previous albums.[127] She has included various styles of music from uptempo pop-reggae with “Pon De Replay”, to an 1980s new wave fueled club banger “SOS” to the whiff of gothic horror in a love song “Unfaithful“. Most of her love subject ballads contain a mid-tempo pop sound, with an R&B influences that uses of a gently strummed acoustic guitar with the production of Stargate and the songs written by Ne-Yo.[40] Some of her up-tempo dance-pop songs include production from Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, Christopher “Tricky” Stewart and J. R. Rotem.[128] She has also sampled songs from other artist like Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” on “SOS”,[125] New Order‘s “Blue Monday” on “Shut Up and Drive” and 1970s original song “Soul Makossa” of Manu Dibango with a part of the chorus from Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” on “Don’t Stop the Music“.


Rihanna has named Madonna as her idol and biggest influence, and said she wants to be the “black Madonna”.[129][130] She said: “I think that Madonna was a great inspiration for me, especially on my earlier work. If I had to examine her evolution through time, I think she reinvented her clothing style and music with success every single time. And at the same time remained a real force in entertainment in the whole world.”[129] Rihanna also cited Mariah Carey as her influence and idol. She said “I looked up to [Mariah] a lot and I still do. I admire her as an artist, and to [compete with her] was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life.[50][131][132] Of Janet Jackson, Rihanna has commented that “[s]he was one of the first female pop icons that I could relate to … She was so vibrant, she had so much energy. She still has power. I’ve seen her on stage, and she can stand there for 20 minutes and have the whole arena scream at her. You have to love Janet.”[133] Beyoncé has been named as a major influence,[134][135] citing that she was inspired to start her career after watching Knowles on television as part of a Destiny’s Child performance.[136] Her other musical influences include Bob Marley, (for whom she built a shrine in her Los Angeles home)[137] Alicia Keys[138] Whitney Houston, Destiny’s Child, Celine Dion,[139] Brandy[140] and Gwen Stefani.[141] Her friend and former Island Def Jam record label artist Fefe Dobson was someone that she admired and looked up to, having a fellow artist writing, singing, and performing the music she truly loves.[142][143]

Rihanna’s music contains strong influences of Caribbean music which include reggae and dancehall. The video for “Rude Boy” was inspired by her Caribbean roots.[144] In an interview, she stated that while growing up in Barbados she grew up listening to reggae music and when she came to the United States she was exposed to many different types of music.[145] During the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour, she did a cover to “Is This Love” which paid tribute to Marley; she would later do a cover song to Bob Marley & The Wailers‘ “Redemption Song“.[146] Rihanna commented that Marilyn Monroe and vintage clothing served for visual inspiration for the music video “Hate That I Love You” and “Rehab“; in contrast, the “dark, creepy” scenes of “Disturbia” have drawn comparison to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.[147][148] The music video ranked number five on the “Top Five Most Paranoid Music Videos” published by MTV Buzzworthy.[149] Jon Bream of the Star Tribune commented “[i]n the tradition of Madonna and Janet Jackson, Rihanna has become the video vixen of the ’00s … Rihanna has perfected the pout, the long-legged strut and trend-setting hairdos that keep women and men alike checking her out on YouTube.”[147] George Epaminondas of InStyle considers Rihanna’s music videos to be “cinematic” due to her “blend of lush island rhythms and swinging pop and … mischievous sensuality.”[150]

Public image

Rihanna performing “Hard” on her Last Girl on Earth Tour

New York magazine described Rihanna’s early look as that of a cookie-cutter teen queen while stating that she has the ability to shift looks dramatically and with great ease.[151] This was underscored when in March 2011 American Chronicle writer Arturo Tora termed her “Rihannaissance Woman.” Around the time of the release of her second album, many critics felt that Rihanna’s sound and musical material were too similar to those of Beyoncé.[152][153][154] Negative reviews appeared, in which her music,[155] music videos, performances[156][157] and her image were compared to those of Beyoncé,[158] which garnered Rihanna much criticism.[159] Some media even claimed that Jay-Z fashioned her to be a replica of Beyoncé.[157][160] During the release of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, she adopted a more sexual image. Sonya Magett of Black Voices reported that Rihanna’s style has become quite risqué since she burst onto the scene four years ago.[161] After revealing a new image while headlining her first tour, she was likely to be criticized for her tight leather outfit during each show.[162] A review in The Times compared Rihanna’s stage wardrobe styling to that of Janet Jackson. He described her outfit as “a vision of Ann Summers couture in thigh-high boots and a few scraps of black PVC.”[163] Stuart Derdeyn of The Province commented that “even with the whole haute couture B&D clearly firing on all points, she’s still got a ways to go to become the new Janet Jackson.”[164]

Rihanna has appeared on Maxim‘s Hot 100 list five consecutive years, listed in positions eight in 2007,[165] fifteen in 2008,[166] eight in 2009,[167] six in 2010, and twenty-two in 2011.[168] She was also listed on People‘s 10 Best Dressed Stars of 2008,[169] and ranked seventeenth on Glamour magazine’s list of the 50 Most Glamorous Women in 2009.[170] Tracey Lomrantz of Glamour commented, “If style risks could be measured in miles, Rihanna would have criss-crossed the globe a thousand times over already.”[171] Rihanna was also declared as Woman of the Year 2009 by Glamour.[172] In June 2007, Gillette named her the Venus Breeze’s Celebrity Legs of a Goddess.[173] In October 2011, Esquire declared Rihanna as the Sexiest Woman Alive.[174] Rihanna has four wax figures of herself at Madame Tussauds Wax Museums in Washington D.C., Vienna, Berlin and London.[175][176][177]

Rihanna’s tattoos include a music note tattoo on her ankle, a Pisces sign behind her right ear,[178][179] a Sanskrit prayer going down her hip, a star in her left ear,[180] the word love on her left middle finger,[181] an Arabic phrase meaning “Freedom in Christ” on her ribcage area,[182] a trail of stars going down the back of her neck,[183][184] a skull with a pink hair bow, the phrase “shhh…” on her right index finger,[185] the date 11.4.86 in Roman numerals on top of her left shoulder,[186] a henna-style dragon claw including hibiscus flowers,[187] a handgun under her right armpit, a six-word phrase on her chest, and the phrase “rebelle fleur” on her neck, which means “rebel/rebellious flower” in French.[188] Her gun tattoo was planned to be just below her shoulders but was ultimately located on her ribcage.[189] In answer to criticism for her violence-themed tattoo, Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy, her tattoo artist, was quick to explain his opinion that the image simply “represents strength and power”.[190] Her thirteenth tattoo which she had was on her chest and reads, “Never a failure, always a lesson”. She had it tattoed backwards, McCurdy says, because she wanted to be able to read it in the mirror. When he asked why she wanted it, she said that it was her “motto in life for everything”.[191]

Other ventures

In October 2005, Rihanna struck her first endorsement deal with Secret Body Spray[192] for them to sponsor her first tour, Rihanna’s Secret Body Spray Tour[193] In 2006, Rihanna participated in several endorsement deals, including Nike sportswear for the launch of her “SOS”[39] and J. C. Penney. That same year, she received an endorsement deal from Clinique to promote their Happy fragrance.[194] She recorded a song written by Ne-Yo entitled “Just Be Happy” as part of the deal to promote their Happy fragrance. Rihanna also recorded a song called “Winning Women” with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger for Procter & Gamble‘s female deodorant Secret. In 2007, Rihanna signed with CoverGirl and became a celebrity spokesperson which included appearances on TV commercials[195][196] and in the Barbados Tourism Authority’s tourism commercials.

In December 2008, Rihanna contracted with Gucci to appear in their ads for the Tattoo Heart Collection, a special-edition line.[197][198] In the Gucci handbag ad, Rihanna is seen hanging from a giant hoop, scantily clad in a barely-there white bodysuit and wearing an oversized white Gucci purse.[199] The success of her single, “Umbrella” earned her an endorsement deal with Totes.[200][201] Her handlers pitched her hit “Umbrella” to Totes and the song became the soundtrack for commercials in which she starred.[202] On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Rihanna inked a fragrance deal with Jay-Z’s licensing company Iconic Fragrances.[203] The fragrance is named Reb’l Fleur and was released in 2011.[204] Rihanna was working with her artistic director for Rated R, Simon Henwood, on the book Rihanna. It was released on September 14, 2010.[205][206] In August 2010 Rihanna began appearing in an Australian television advert for Optus, a position previously held by Pink.[207] In May 2011, Rihanna became a spokeswoman for the German skincare brand Nivea.[208] Rihanna’s song “California King Bed” was featured as a part of Nivea’s “100 Years of Skincare” commercial campaign.[209]


Rihanna performing on her Loud Tour in June 2011

Rihanna created her Believe Foundation in 2006 to help terminally ill children.[210][211] Rihanna explained her reasons for starting the foundation saying, “When I was young and I would watch television and I would see all the children suffering, I always said: when I grow up, I want to help.”[212] Rihanna is also heavily involved in the marketing of her native country of Barbados.[213] She began by including the flag and broken trident in many of her videos, shooting her album packaging for A Girl Like Me there.[213] In September 2007, she became the official face of tourism for Barbados, being included in many of their ad campaigns. She holds the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.[214] She additionally was honored by the Prime Minister David Thompson, who presented her with several gifts at a national concert on February 20, 2008, in Barbados, called “Rihanna Day”.[215][216] In February 2008, Rihanna thanked and honoured her country during the acceptance speech for her win of “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” at the Grammy Awards.[217] Although Rihanna is heavily involved in the promotion of her country and works with the government in Barbados to do so, she is often criticized by other Barbadians[218] for everything from her music to her successes and for wearing “skimpy clothes”.[219][220] Rihanna, speaking on one incident, said, “I went to the beach and I had on a one-piece swimsuit with jeans […] They took the picture and they made it look like a top that was really revealing… There were […] radio programmes about it. It was a big deal for, like, three weeks straight – talking about I’m not setting a good example.”[221] Rihanna states she was bullied at school. “Having lighter skin wasn’t a problem in my household, but it was when I went to school – which really confused me at first. The harassment continued to my very last day of elementary school.”[222]

Rihanna has performed a number of concerts to raise funds for both charities and the Foundation and is a 2008 Cartier Love Charity Bracelet Ambassador. She performed at Madonna’s Raising Malawi fundraiser on February 6, 2008, in New York City.[223] After becoming an honorary cultural ambassador for Barbados, Rihanna became involved with DKMS, an international donor network based in Tübingen, Germany, to try to find a donor for Lisa Gershowitz Flynn.[224] The Manhattan attorney had been diagnosed in November with acute myelogenous leukemia.[225] In January 2008, Rihanna contributed in the fight against AIDS when she visited the H&M in New York to support Fashion Against AIDS by presenting her t-shirt design and signing autographs for a limited time with slogans like “Believe” and “Stop and Think.”[226] The collection features t-shirts and hoodies designed by Rihanna, Timbaland and other well-known designers, musicians and artists.[227] The line, called Fashion Against AIDS, was launched in February 2008 to raise awareness of the disease among teens and spread awareness about HIV/AIDS.[228] In August 2008, Rihanna and other pop, rock, R&B and country singers such as Carrie Underwood, Ciara, Beyoncé Knowles, Leona Lewis, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and Fergie recorded the charity single, “Just Stand Up!“, the theme song to the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer and its theme song.[229] The singers performed the song live on September 5, 2008.[230] Rihanna was also selected as the spokesmodel for Gucci’s first United Nations Children’s Fund ad campaign.[231] She appeared in the fashion house’s Tattoo Heart campaign, which premiered in December 2008.[232] Rihanna was photographed in series of special edition print ads with United Nations Children’s Fund items, twenty-five percent of sales will benefit the children’s charity.[233]

On November 19, 2008, Rihanna was enlisted by Gucci‘s Frida Giannini along with Madonna to light the United Nations Children’s Fund Christmas snowflake in New York City at the Grand Army Plaza.[234] In 2008, she became the global representative and the face of the 4th annual Gucci Campaign to Benefit United Nations Children’s Fund. The campaign aimed to raise funds for children in Africa through the sale of its Tattoo Heart collection of bags, which launched worldwide on November 19, 2008.[235] Rihanna has been a part of many benefit concerts to help raise money for various illnesses, such as cancer for Hope Rocks.[236] Rihanna performed on January 20, 2009, at the Recording Industry Association of America’s Presidential Inauguration Charity Ball to raise money for the world largest anti-hunger organization.[237][238][239] On April 2, 2009, Rihanna visited the NYU Medical Center to help look for another bone marrow donor for a young girl named Jasmina Anema.[240][241] Rihanna first learned about Anema’s plight in February 2009, when she saw the moving video Anema’s best friend, Isabelle Huurman, and her mother, Karen Detrick, made appealing for donors to save Anema.[242] Rihanna honored Anema’s best friend, Isabella, for her efforts for trying to save her best friend at a DKMS Gala on May 7, 2009. Jasmina Anema eventually received her transplant on June 11, 2009,[243][244][245] but died on January 27, 2010.[246] In September 2009, Rihanna performed at Jay-Z‘s “Answer the Call” concert, which paid tribute to the police officers and firefighters who died on the September 11 attacks.[247] In February 2011, Rihanna was scheduled to perform at a charity concert for the Women’s Cancer Research Fund, but was forced to pull out at the last minute, due to bronchitis.[248]


Main article: Rihanna discography

See also

Book icon Book: Rihanna
Wikipedia books are collections of articles that can be downloaded or ordered in print.
Rihanna-brisbane-cropped.jpg Rihanna portal

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