BORN and raised in Barbados, Rihanna has been celebrated by the country on numerous occasions throughout the years.
On Monday, November 29, 2021, the singer, entrepreneur, and actress attended the nation's ceremony of independence.
Was Rihanna declared an official national hero?
After almost 400 years, Barbados officially severed its ties with the British monarchy.
The country became a republic and inaugurated its first President ever.
During the ceremony on Monday evening, Rihanna was honored by Barbados' Prime Minister, Mia Mottley.
Mottley named Rihanna a national hero.
"On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you the designee for national hero for Barbados, ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty," said Mottley.
"May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions."
Since 2018, Rihanna has held the title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.
The superstar also has her own holiday in the country, established by former prime minister David Thompson. Rihanna Day falls on February 22 of each year.
Why did the Barbados become a republic?
Fifty-five years ago from Monday, November 29, Barbados declared independence from Britain.
The Queen, however, was still considered a leader in their country.
A former representative to the Queen, Governor-General Sandra Mason, was sworn in as the nation's first President.
"Possessing a clear sense of who we are, and what we are capable of achieving, in the year 2021, we now turn our vessel's bow towards the new republic. We do this so that we may seize the full substance of our sovereignty," Mason said.
"For decades, we have had discourse and debate about the transition of Barbados to a republic. Today, debate and discourse have become action. Today, we set our compass a new direction."
Prince Charles was in attendance at the ceremony and was given the country's highest-ranking honor, the Order of Freedom.
"From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude," he said.
"Emancipation, self-government and Independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides."
What is a national hero?
A national hero is someone who embodies the qualities of a hero – courage, strength, gratitude, among others – and has made significant positive contributions to society.
National heroes are recognized due to their roles and services within a nation.
Citizens of a country may look up to their national hero(es) as a guiding light.
They are able to elevate morale and provide a common bond among citizens.
Many countries have national heroes.
In Barbados, National Heroes Day is celebrated on April 28 of each year.
The town square in Bridgetown is named National Heroes Square.
According to the Barbados Pocket Guide, "Through the vision, determination and commitment of some brave men and women, Barbados has been moulded into a country that we can all be proud of."
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