Rihanna was honored for lifetime contributions to music, fashion and philanthropy. The award was presented to her by Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and chief executive officer of the NAACP, which says it recognizes “a special achievement and distinguished public service.”
While she is best known for hit songs like “Umbrella” and “Like A Diamond”, plus the nine Grammy awards earned by her music, Rihanna has also blossomed in the beauty and fashion industry. In 2019 she launched “Fenty”, the first woman to create a luxury brand, under the French conglomerate LVMH.
Rihanna has also, through her Clara Lionel Foundation, funded education, health and emergency response programs globally.
In addition, she has been a voice for causes such as civil rights, which she underlined in her acceptance speech.
“If there’s anything that I’ve learned (it’s) that we can only fix this world together,” said Rihanna.
She urged the audience to rally their friends to such causes.
“They want to break bread with you, right? They like you? Well, then, this is their problem too,” Rihanna said.
“When we’re marching and protesting and posting about the Michael Brown Jrs. and the Atatiana Jeffersons of the world, tell your friends to pull up,” Rihanna added.
In a statement issued last month, Johnson praised Rihanna for her accomplishments.
“Rihanna has not only enjoyed a groundbreaking career as an artiste and musician, but has also distinguished herself as a stellar public servant,” he said. “From her business achievements through Fenty, to her tremendous record as an activist and philanthropist, Rihanna epitomizes the type of character, grace, and devotion to justice that we seek to highlight in our President’s Award.”
Rihanna tweeted she was “super honored” to be chosen for the award.
American rapper and music mogul Jay-Z was last year’s recipient of the President’s Award.