March 1, 2017


Rihanna Receives Harvard's Humanitarian of the Year Award: Watch Her Humbling Speech

Rihanna has received plenty of respectable awards throughout her career, but the artist's latest one has nothing to do with music and is definitely her most important. She was honored as Harvard University’s Humanitarian of the Year on Tuesday thanks to her tireless charity work.

Rakesh Khurana, the dean of Harvard College, praised Rihanna's gracious efforts where she inspires students to "work work work" and to "shine bright like a diamond." Then, the singer accepted her award by providing the internet with the ultimate confident Black girl hair flip gif. “So I made it to Harvard,” Rihanna said with a smirk. “Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life. But it feels good."

“I would say to myself, ‘When I grow up, and I can get rich, I’m gonna save kids all over the world,'” Rihanna said as she explained she wanted to help people ever since watching commercials on how to save children's lives with 25 cents. “I just didn’t know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager.” The singer humbly continued, 

"All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian. People make it seem so hard man. What that little girl watching those commercials didn't know is that you don't have to be rich to be a humanitarian, you don't have to be rich to help somebody. You don't have to be famous, you don't even have to be college educated. But it starts with your neighbor, the person right next you. The person sitting next you to you in class, the kid down the block in your neighboorhood. You just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can."

Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012, where she was able to help build a breast cancer treatment center and bought radiotherapy equipment for the oncology unitat the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados. She is also an ambassador for the UNICEF Tap Project and the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project. 

Last May, she also launched a global college scholarship program through the Clara Lionel Foundation that helps student residents Barbados, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica and the U.S. "achieve their fullest potential and obtain their college degree." Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award was just the latest record that Rihanna has broken, as she is the first black woman to receive the honor.

Next up, watch a baby Rih reflect on life in Barbados before fame in this 2006 Fuse interview: