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Rihanna, Delta Sigma Theta | mazi + zo sorority jewelry

A bestselling musician, style icon, fashion mogul, and she gives back, too.

Delta Sigma Theta, Honorary Initiate

“Sometimes a person looks at me and sees dollars. They see numbers and they see a product. I look at me and see art.”

Article: Rihanna, Cultural Icon and Entrepreneur

Rihanna, Cultural Icon and Entrepreneur

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados. Her childhood was marked by the tumultuous relationship between her parents, Ronald Fenty and Monica Braithwaite. While her parents worked tirelessly to provide for the family, their marriage was strained by her father's battles with addiction. Amidst these challenges, Rihanna found solace in music, a passion that would eventually propel her to global stardom and nine Grammy Awards. From an early age, she showcased her vocal talents at school and local events, foreshadowing the remarkable journey that lay ahead.

Rihanna's style evolution traces back to her early days in the Music of the Sun era, marking her debut with Def Jam. During this time, she sported a simple yet accessible youthful hip-hop-inspired style, blending feminine elements like crop tops and sequins with masculine touches such as baggy jeans and low waistlines, even showcasing underwear waistbands.

At 15, Rihanna's life took an extraordinary turn when American record producer Evan Rogers, vacationing in Barbados, was introduced to her by mutual friends. Captivated by her raw talent and magnetic presence, Rogers extended an invitation for her to record demo tapes in the United States. These tapes found their way to Jay-Z, the then-president of Def Jam Recordings, who was so impressed that he signed her immediately after an impromptu audition.

In 2005, Rihanna released her debut album, "Music of the Sun," announced her arrival with the infectious hit "Pon de Replay." Her unique vocal style and undeniable charisma instantly resonated with audiences.

Transitioning into her 'cool girl next door' phase, Rihanna maintained an approachable style combining sexy elements with casual and sporty attire, embodying a blend of confidence and ease that resonated with her sound at the time.

The follow-up, "A Girl Like Me" (2006), solidified her presence with chart-toppers like "SOS" and "Unfaithful," cementing her status as a rising force in the industry. During this era, Rihanna's style exuded youth and innocence, echoing the themes of her earlier days.

However, it was her third album, "Good Girl Gone Bad" (2007), that catapulted Rihanna into global superstardom and transformed her style. Boasting smash hits like "Umbrella," "Don't Stop the Music," and "Take a Bow," the album earned her numerous accolades, including the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella" in 2008. Her fashion choices became bolder and edgier, reflecting the newfound confidence and edge in her music.

From that point on, Rihanna's artistry and style evolved with each successive release, reflecting her growth as a musician and a person. In 2018, Rihanna co-hosted the Met Gala, one of the biggest events in the fashion calendar, alongside Anna Wintour, Amal Clooney, and Donatella Versace. For the "Heavenly Bodies" theme exploring Catholicism's influence on fashion, Rihanna arrived dressed as a modern-day female pope, complete with a beaded Margiela corset mini dress worn beneath a voluminous skirt and an embellished bishop's hat.

Rihanna's impact on the fashion world was nothing short of seismic during this period. She fearlessly defied conventions, blending high fashion with streetwear influences to forge a signature aesthetic that was both daring and instantly recognizable. Her ability to seamlessly transition from edgy, androgynous looks to sultry, feminine ensembles solidified her status as a true fashion chameleon.

Her unapologetic approach inspired legions of fans and fashion enthusiasts to embrace their individuality and self-expression. Collaborations with renowned designers and brands challenged the boundaries of fashion, blurring the lines between luxury and streetwear in an organic and revolutionary way.

Beyond her musical prowess, Rihanna proved herself a brilliant entrepreneur. In 2017, she launched Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics brand that shattered industry norms with its inclusive range of foundation shades. The brand's motto, "Beauty for All," resonated globally, making it an instant success valued at over $2.8 billion today. Rihanna followed this up with the launch of Savage X Fenty, a lingerie line celebrating body positivity and diversity, in 2018. Remarkably, both groundbreaking ventures were launched before Rihanna's 30th birthday.

The success of Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty, the latter valued at around $1 billion, has further cemented Rihanna's status as a cultural icon and fashion mogul. Her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to inclusivity have earned her praise and respect, solidifying her influence in the fashion and beauty industries.

Rihanna's influence transcends music, business, and fashion; she is an ardent advocate for social causes, using her platform to raise awareness and drive change. In 2012, she founded the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF), named after her grandparents, to support education, health, and emergency response programs worldwide. CLF has provided scholarships to students from Caribbean countries and funded global emergency response efforts.

Beyond her foundation, Rihanna has lent her support to numerous charitable endeavors, including UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education, and the Global Citizen Project. Her philanthropic efforts earned her the prestigious Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award in 2017, recognizing her unwavering commitment to improving lives. In 2020, Rihanna was honored with the President's Award at the 51st annual NAACP Image Awards.wwwww

In a testament to her dedication to service and empowerment, Rihanna was initiated as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (DST) during the sorority's 55th National Convention in 2021. DST, one of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (also known as the Divine 9), was founded in 1913 at Howard University and is committed to public service, academic excellence, and cultural enrichment. As an honorary member, Rihanna joins a distinguished group of women (women like Ketanji Brown Jackson, Rashida Jones, and Tamika Catchings!) who have made significant contributions to society, highlighting her commitment to uplifting communities and empowering women worldwide.

In 2023 she hosted the Super Bowl halftime show and broke the record for the most-watched halftime show in history and then in June 2024 Rihanna announced the arrival of her latest venture with an IG post: "@fentyhair is pullin up and it's time to finally have the hair experience you've been waiting for." 

Rihanna's journey is a testament to her resilience, talent, and unwavering commitment to making a difference. From her humble beginnings in Barbados to becoming a global icon, she has remained true to herself, inspiring (and earning!) millions along the way. Her legacy is not merely defined by her musical achievements or business ventures but by her dedication to uplifting others and creating a more inclusive and equitable world.

Rihanna has defied conventions, shattered barriers, and redefined what it means to be a modern-day icon, leaving an indelible mark on the world through her music, her businesses, her fashion, and her unwavering commitment to making a positive impact. We 🫶 you, Riri!