Rihanna’s humanitarian “Work” was honored today, as the multifaceted superstar earned Harvard’s 2017 Humanitarian of the Year award.
Taking the stage in elegant fashion, RiRi smiled at the crowd of adoring fans gathered at the prestigious Cambridge university to cheer her on. “So, I made it to Harvard,” she said to a roar. “Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life, but it feels good.”
She continued, explaining that she never actually wanted this type of credit for her humanitarian work. “I’m incredibly humbled by this,” she said. “To be acknowledged at this magnitude, for something that, in truth, I’ve never wanted credit for.”
RiRi revealed that she yearned to help others since she was a child, watching charity ads on television. At the time, she thought she had to be rich to make a difference. Now, she realizes that humanitarian efforts aren’t exclusive to the wealthy or famous.
“We’re all human,” she said. “We all just want a chance, a chance at life, a chance at an education, a chance at a future, really. At CLF [Clara Lionel Foundation], our mission is to impact as many lives as possible, but it starts with just one. Just one. As I stare out into this beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. I know that each and every one of you has the opportunity to help someone else. All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian.”
To end the ceremony, a young student presented her with flowers. “Rihanna,” the young gentleman said. “We thank you for your compassion, your philanthropy to help others in need, and your wonderful music. On behalf of the children of Cambridge, I present you these flowers as a token of our appreciation.” Taking the flowers, a smiling RiRi kissed the young man on the cheek.
Last week, Harvard announced that Rihanna would be receiving the coveted Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award. “Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados,” said Harvard Foundation director S. Allen Counter. “She has also created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program [named for her grandmother and grandfather] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, a multiyear campaign that will provide children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today.”
Congratulations to Rihanna on this prestigious honor.