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RihannaLoudTour Hard cropped.JPG
Rihanna performing on her Loud Tour in 2011.
Background information
Birth name Robyn Rihanna Fenty
Born (1988-02-20) February 20, 1988 (age 29)
Saint Michael, Barbados
Genres R&B, pop, dancehall, reggae, hip hop, dance, dubstep, pop-rock
Occupation(s) Actress, recording artist
Years active 2005–present
Labels Def Jam, Roc Nation
Associated acts Chris Brown, Jay Z, Ne-Yo, Eminem, Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj

Rihanna's autograph

Robyn Rihanna Fenty (/riˈɑːnə/ ree-AH-nə or /riˈænə/ ree-AN; born February 20, 1988), known mononymously as Rihanna, is a Barbadian recording artist. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings.[1]

In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 top five hit single "Pon de Replay". In less than a year, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), which peaked within the top five in the United States, and produced her first Hot 100 number one single, "SOS". Rihanna's third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad released in May 2007, spawned the international hit singles "Umbrella", "Don't Stop the Music", "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia", with an additional four singles being released. The album was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella". Her fourth studio album Rated R (2009), produced the top-ten singles "Russian Roulette", "Hard" and "Rude Boy", with the latter achieving the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Loud (2010), Rihanna's fifth studio album, spawned the number one hits "Only Girl (In the World)", "What's My Name?" and "S&M". "We Found Love" served as the lead single from Rihanna's sixth studio album, Talk That Talk (2011). The song was an international success, topping the charts in seventeen countries. Two further singles have been released, "You Da One" and the title track.

Among releasing almost thirty solo singles, Rihanna is also well known for being featured on many other artist's singles across a wide array of genres. She has collaborated with rap artists such as T.I., Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Nicki Minaj and Drake; disc jockey David Guetta; and alternative rock bands Maroon 5 and Coldplay.

Rihanna's work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including five American Music Awards, 18 Billboard Music Awards, two BRIT Awards and six Grammy Awards. She has achieved a total of eleven number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the youngest solo artist to achieve the feat.[2] Some of her singles have earned their place on the List of best-selling singles worldwide. She is the highest-selling digital artist in US history.[3] Rihanna has sold more than 25 million albums and 60 million singles worldwide since the beginning of her career in 2005, which makes her one of the best selling artists of all time.[4][5]


1988–2004: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Rihanna grew up in the town of Bridgetown, Barbados.[6]

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados, to Monica Braithwaite, a retired accountant, and Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor for a garment factory.[7] Her mother, a native of Guyana, is Afro-Guyanese, and her father is of Barbadian and Irish descent.[8] The eldest of three siblings, Rihanna has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty.[9] She also has two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father's side, each born by different mothers before Rihanna's father married her mother.[10][11] Rihanna grew up listening to reggae music,[12] and began singing at around the age of seven.[9] Her childhood was deeply affected by her father's addiction to crack cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana,[13] and her parents' turbulent marriage ended when she was 14.[7] She grew up in a three-bedroom bungalow in Bridgetown and sold clothes with her father on a street stall.[6] She attended Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School and then the Combermere High School, where she formed a musical trio with two of her classmates.[9] Rihanna was an army cadet in a sub-military programme that trained with the military of Barbados and fellow Barbadian and singer-songwriter Shontelle was her drill sergeant.[14] Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue her musical career instead.[15]

Before signing to Def Jam Recordings, Rihanna was discovered in her home country by American record producer Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers.[16] The two met in December 2003 through mutual friends of Rihanna's and Rogers' wife, while the couple was on vacation in Barbados, because of how Rihanna's friend had told Rogers' wife how the aspiring singer was always singing and performing.[16] After meeting for the first time, Rogers' asked Rihanna to come to his hotel room, where she performed renditions of Destiny's Child's "Emotion" and Mariah Carey's "Hero".[16] Rihanna's renditions impressed Rogers, who then took her to New York, where she was accompanied by her mother, Monica, to record some demo tapes which could be sent to record labels.[16][17] Production of the demo tapes took about a year, due to Rihanna only being able to record during school holidays.[17] At the age of 16, Rihanna was signed to Rogers' and Carl Sturken's production company, Syndicated Rhythm Productions, who assigned her a lawyer and manager, before the completed demo tape was distributed to various record labels around the world in late 2004.[17] The first to respond to the demo tape was Jay-Z, who had recently been appointed as president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings. Rihanna auditioned for him and music mogul L.A. Reid, in his office.[17][18] Looking back on the audition and meeting Jay-Z, Rihanna explained in an interview how she felt before walking into the room, saying:

That's when I really got nervous ... I was like: 'Oh God, he's right there, I can't look, I can't look, I can't look!' I remember being extremely quiet. I was very shy. I was cold the entire time. I had butterflies. I'm sitting across from Jay-Z. Like, Jay-Zee. I was star-struck.[17]

During the audition, Rihanna performed Whitney Houston's cover of "For the Love of You", as well as her first single "Pon de Replay" and "The Last Time", which were written and produced by Rogers and Sturken and would be included on her debut album Music of the Sun.[17] Jay-Z was initially skeptical about signing Rihanna after he felt "Pon de Replay" was too big for her, saying "when a song is that big, it's hard [for a new artist] to come back from. I don't sign songs, I sign artists".[19] The audition resulted in Rihanna signing a six-album record deal with Def Jam Recordings in February 2005, on the same day of the audition, with Jay-Z saying "There's only two ways out. Out the door after you sign this deal. Or through this window ...",[17] meaning that he was not going to let her leave with signing a record deal.[17] After signing to Def Jam Recordings, Rihanna cancelled other meetings with record labels and relocated from Barbados to New York to live with Rogers' and his wife.[20] Rihanna explained the concept behind the title of the album to Kidzworld, saying that the sun is representative of the her native Caribbean culture as well as herself and that the album consists of music from her heritage.[21]

2005–06: Music of the Sun and A Girl Like Me[edit]

Rihanna performing at the Jingle Ball in 2005.

After signing with Def Jam, she spent the next three months recording and completing her debut album.[1] The album featured production from Evan Rogers, Carl Sturken, Stargate and Poke & Tone.[22] She first collaborated with rapper Memphis Bleek on his fourth studio album 534 before her debut. She released her debut single, "Pon de Replay" on August 22, 2005, which peaked at number two on both the Billboard Hot 100]] and the UK Singles Chart.[23] It became a global hit, peaking within the top ten across fifteen countries. Her debut album, Music of the Sun, was released in August 2005 in the United States.[24] The album reached number ten on the Billboard 200, selling 69,000 copies in its first week.[25] The album went on to sell over two million copies worldwide and received a Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of over 500,000 units to retailers in the United States.[26]

Her music was marketed within the reggae genre because of her Caribbean descent. The album received mixed reviews by music critics. Rolling Stone magazine gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars and described as lacking the replay value, ingenuity and rhythm of the single with "generic vocal hiccups and frills" of US R&B inflecting upon her "Caribbean charm".[27] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described the album as a "glut of teen R&B chanteuses " and described her lead single "Pon de Replay" as "a dancehall-pop mixture that owes plenty of its sweat and shimmy to Beyoncé's "Baby Boy".[22] A reviewer for Entertainment Weekly commented that the "dancehall/R&B debut is filled with chintzy production and maudlin arrangements that block out the Music of the Sun. The albums second single, "If It's Lovin' that You Want"[28] was less successful than its predecessor, managing a peak position of number thirty-six in the United States, and number eleven in the United Kingdom.[23] The single proved to be more well-received in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand reaching the top ten.

A month after the release of her debut album, she began working on her second studio album.[29] The album contained production from record producers Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken who produced most of her debut album, as well as Stargate, J. R. Rotem and label-mate singer-songwriter Ne-Yo.[30] Whilst recording the album, Rihanna served as an opening act for Gwen Stefani on tour to promote her debut album.[31] A Girl Like Me was released in April 2006,[32] less than eight months after her debut. The album reached number five on the Billboard 200[25] selling 115,000 copies in its first week and was certified Platinum by the RIAA, having shipped over one million units.[26][33] Internationally, the album peaked at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart and number five in the UK and Ireland. Critical response to the album was mixed; Rolling Stone magazine commented "Like her filler-packed debut album, this similar but superior follow-up doesn't deliver anything else as ingenious as its lead single."[34] Critics described the album as a record that almost identically alternates between the sunny dancehall/dub-pop, hip-hop-infused club bangers and gushy, adult-oriented ballads.[35]

The lead single, "SOS", peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first single to top the charts in the United States.[23] The second single, "Unfaithful", became a major worldwide hit, reaching the top ten in eighteen countries around the world, including the US where it reached number six, as well as topping the charts in Canada and Switzerland. The album's third single "We Ride"[36] did not achieve the same success, remaining uncharted in the US and reaching a peak of seventeen in the UK. However, the fourth US single, "Break It Off" featuring Sean Paul, reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100.[37][38] After the release of the album, Rihanna embarked on her first headlining tour, the Rihanna: Live in Concert Tour. She then embarked on the Rock Tha Block Tour followed by touring with the Pussycat Dolls from November 2006 to February 2007 in the UK.[39] Rihanna made her acting debut in a cameo role in the straight-to-DVD film Bring It On: All or Nothing, which was released on August 8, 2006.[40]

2007–08: New image and Good Girl Gone Bad[edit]

Rihanna performing at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in 2008.

With her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), Rihanna wanted to head in a new direction with the help of music producers Timbaland, and Sean Garrett, and re-imagine her album compositions[41] with fresh, uptempo dance tracks.[42] She adopted a more rebellious image whilst recording the album, eventually dying her hair black and cutting it short. Rihanna commented, "I want to keep people dancing but still be soulful at the same time [...] You feel different every album, and [at] this stage I feel like I want to do a lot of uptempo [songs]."[42] The album topped the charts in multiple countries including the UK, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Russia and and at number two in the US and Australia. Unlike previous work, the album featured a more dance-pop sound instead of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles found in Rihanna's first two albums. The album received positive reviews by critics, becoming her most critically acclaimed album at that time compared to her previous efforts.[43]

Good Girl Gone Bad yielded four chart-topping singles – all reaching the top three of the Billboard Hot 100 – including the major worldwide number one hit, "Umbrella", featuring Jay-Z. In addition to reaching number one in twelve other countries, "Umbrella" peaked at number one in the UK for ten consecutive weeks,[44] making it the longest-running number one single since Wet Wet Wet's single "Love Is All Around" spent fifteen weeks at the top in 1994.[45] It became the longest-running chart topper of the 2000's decade, and remains the longest-running number one since its release in 2007.[46] The song was listed at number three on the '100 Best Songs of 2007' published by Rolling Stone magazine.[47] It became Rihanna's first single to be named one of the best-selling singles worldwide, having sold over 6.6 million singles since being released.[48][49] Her other singles, "Shut Up and Drive", and "Hate That I Love You", "Don't Stop The Music" were released from the album and were able to mirror the success of "Umbrella", with the latter reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100, whilst peaking at number one in Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Switzerland.[50] At the 2007 American Music Awards, Rihanna won the award for 'Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist'.

The re-issue of her third album, titled Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, released in June 2008, features three added songs. The first single from the re-release, "Take a Bow",[51] topped the charts in six countries worldwide, including in Canada, Ireland, the the UK and US. "If I Never See Your Face Again", a duet with Maroon 5,[52] was also included in the re-release, alongside "Disturbia", which also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100[53] and earned Rihanna a nomination for Best Dance Recording at the 51st Grammy Awards. "Disturbia" and "Take a Bow" both silmiltaneously appeared inside the top five on the Hot 100, making Rihanna the seventh female artist to have two songs in the top five. She was also featured on rapper T.I.'s "Live Your Life," which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Rihanna her fifth number one single on the chart at the time,[54] and making Rihanna the artist with the joint-most number one singles of the 2000's decade, with the other being Beyoncé Knowles. A remix of the album, Good Girl Gone Bad: The Remixes, was also released containing remixed versions of songs from the reloaded edition of the album. "Good Girl Gone Bad" has shipped over 2.7 million units in the United States alone, receiving a two-times-platinum certification from the RIAA and marking Rihanna's best-selling album to date in the country.[26][55] Rihanna was nominated in four categories at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, winning 'Monster Single of the Year' and 'Video of the Year' for "Umbrella".[56] Rihanna won her first award at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration,[57] in addition to receiving five other nominations, including Record of the Year, Best Dance Recording, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group and Best R&B Song. In support of the album, she kicked off her second headlining tour, the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour on September 12, 2007, with a total of 80 shows across the US, Canada and Europe[58] and then embarked on the Glow in the Dark Tour with Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and N.E.R.D on April 16, 2008.[59][60][61] Rihanna won the awards for 'Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist' and 'Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist' at the 2008 American Music Awards.[62]

2009–10: Domestic violence case and Rated R[edit]

Rihanna on the AMA's red carpet in 2009.

On February 8, 2009, Rihanna's scheduled performance at the 51st Grammy Awards was cancelled.[63] Reports later surfaced regarding an alleged altercation with then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, who was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats.[64] On March 5, 2009, Brown was charged with assault and making criminal threats.[65] Due to a leaked photograph from the Los Angeles Police Department obtained by—which revealed Rihanna had sustained visible injuries — an organization known as STOParazzi proposed a law called "Rihanna's Law," which, if enacted, would "deter employees of law enforcement agencies from releasing photos or information that exploits crime victims."[66] Gil Kaufman of VH1 reported the "nonstop coverage of the Rihanna/Brown case has brought up a number of issues regarding the privacy of alleged victims of domestic violence, including the decision by almost all major news outlets to divulge the identity of the victim—which is not typically done in domestic-violence cases" and the controversial distribution of the leaked photograph.[67] Rihanna was subpoenaed to testify during a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles on June 22, 2009.[68] Rihanna's attorney, Donald Etra told US Weekly, "The DA told me Rihanna will be subpoenaed. I will accept on her behalf."[69] On June 22, 2009, Brown pled guilty to the felony assault. In exchange for his plea Brown received five years probation and was ordered to stay fifty yards away from Rihanna, unless at public events, which then would be reduced to ten yards.[70] However, in February 2011, at the request of Brown's lawyer, Judge Patricia Schnegg modified with Rihanna's consent the restraining order to a "level one order," allowing both singers to appear at awards shows together in the future.[71][72] The following year, a police statement outlining what Rihanna said happened during the events, was leaked online. Statements in the documents were made by the responding LAPD officer. The documents summarized that Rihanna picked up Brown’s cellular phone and observed a three-page text message from a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with. A verbal argument ensued with Brown attempting to push Rihanna out of the car. Rihanna was wearing a seat belt so could not. This resulted in Brown making several disturbing assualts including, shoving the singer's head against the passenger window of the vehicle, punching her face - causing Rihanna's mouth to fill with blood and hitting her left arm and hand - causing her to suffer a contusion on her left triceps. Brown also threw her phone out of the window onto an unknown street. Furthermore, he bit her left ear and placed her in a headlock - causing the singer to lose consciousness. In defence, Rihanna attempted to gouge his eyes and began screaming for help, ending with Brown exiting the vehicle and walking away. A resident in the neighborhood heard Rihanna's plea for help and called 911, causing the police response.[73]

Rihanna made her first appearance in a music video since the assualt, as the central character in Kanye West's clip, "Paranoid".[74] She also collaborated with Jay-Z and West on "Run This Town"[75] which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, number one in the UK, and reached the top ten in ten other countries. The song won 'Best Rap Song' and 'Best Rap/Sung Collaboration', at the 52nd Grammy Awards.[76] Her fourth studio album, Rated R was released in November 2009,[77] and was described as having a very dark and mature atmosphere due to previous events. Rolling Stone was favorable of the album commenting that "Rihanna has transformed her sound and made one of the best pop records of the year".[78] The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipment of over one million copies.[26] Debut single, "Russian Roulette", received commercial success, reaching number one in Norway and Switzerland. It also reached the top ten in sixteen other countries including in the UK at number two, and number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Hard" was released predominantly in the United States only. However, besides from reaching the top ten in the country at number nine, it also charted in other countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. "Rude Boy", the third global single, became the biggest worldwide success from the album, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, as well as claiming top ten positions in twenty-two other countries.[79] Two other singles were released from Rated R, U.S. and Australian only single, "Rockstar 101" and the final European single, "Te Amo". "Rated R: Remixed" was released in the spring of 2010 and featured ten tracks from the album revamped as remixes by Chew Fu.[80] To further promote the album, she embarked on her second worldwide tour, the Last Girl on Earth Tour, performing 67 shows.

2010–11: Loud[edit]

In January 2010, Rihanna won two Barbados Music Awards for 'Song of the Decade' with "Umbrella" and 'Entertainer of the Decade'. She was also named 'International Female Artist of the Year' at the 2010 NRJ Music Awards.[81] During the summer, she collaborated with rapper Eminem on "Love the Way You Lie", which was a major worldwide success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as in twenty other countries worldwide.[82] "Love the Way You Lie" became Rihanna's seventh Hot 100 number one of her career, making her the female artist with the fifth-most number ones in the chart's history.[83] Despite reaching number two, the song became the biggest-selling song of 2010 in the UK,[84] and the first of three Rihanna singles to sell over one million copies in the country.[85] It also remains Rihanna's highest-certified and best-selling single in the US,[86][87] and best-selling single worldwide. With sales of over nine million to date, it is one of the best-selling singles worldwide; and Rihanna's biggest-selling single worldwide.[88] Later that year, Rihanna recorded a sequal to the track entitled, "Love the Way You Lie Part II" for her fifth studio album, from her perspective, featuring Eminem once more. It received positive reviews from critics and managed to reach the top twenty of the Canadian Hot 100 after the album's release.[89] It remained on the chart for eight weeks.[90] She also lent her vocals to the hook of "All of the Lights", the fourth single from Kanye West's fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which features additional vocals from several other recording artists, including John Legend, The-Dream, Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Kid Cudi, and Elton John.[91] In October 2010, she released a self-titled book,[92] and announced that she was parting ways with manager Marc Jordan and would henceforth be managed by Jay-Z's Roc Nation Management.[93] She also stated that she plans to start her own company entitled, "Rihanna Entertainment", in which she will "merge all of her businesses including music, film, fragrance, fashion and book ventures".[93]

Rihanna performing on her Loud Tour.

Rihanna released her fifth studio album, Loud on November 16, 2010.[94] It debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling 207,000 copies in its first week, making it the biggest opening week sales of her career to date.[95] Its lead single, "Only Girl (In the World)", reached number one in fourteen countries including Australia, Canada, the UK and US.[96][97][98] The song also won the award for 'Best Dance Recording' at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011.[99] The album's second single, "What's My Name?", featuring Canadian rapper Drake, also reached number one in both the US and UK, making Rihanna the first female solo artist to have five number one singles in the United Kingdom in consecutive years.[100] The song reached number one on the Hot 100 before "Only Girl (In the World)", making it the first time in he chart's history that an album's debut single reached number one after the second.[101] With her third international single from the album, '"S&M" featuring Britney Spears, the singer earned another milestone when the track reached number one on the Hot 100, becoming the youngest artist in the chart's 52-year history to achieve ten number one singles.[2] "Man Down", served as the fourth US single and in other territories worldwide.[102] It reached number one in France,[103] as well as peaking within the top ten in eight other countries. "California King Bed"[104] and the final single, "Cheers (Drink to That)" were last to be released from the album with the latter reaching number seven on the Hot 100.[105]

In June 2011, Rihanna embarked on her worldwide concert tour, the Loud Tour, to promote the album.[106][107] It spanned 98 dates, becoming Rihanna's longest ever tour. Additionally, Rihanna broke the record for selling out ten nights at the The O2 Arena in London, the most sold out shows for a female artist ever, breaking the previous eight-night record held by Britney Spears.[108]

2011–present: Talk That Talk, reconciliation with Chris Brown, and film debut[edit]

In October 2011, Rihanna appeared in the Judges' Houses round of the American reality TV program, The X Factor, assisting L.A. Reid as a guest mentor.[109] During that month, Nicki Minaj released the collaboration "Fly" featuring Rihanna from her album "Pink Friday" which peaked within the top twenty in both the US and UK.[110][111] Rihanna's sixth album, Talk That Talk, was released on November 21, 2011 in both deluxe and standard editions.[112] The lead single "We Found Love" premiered on September 22, 2011 and was released the same day for digital download in the US.[113] With the ascension of the track to number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna became the fastest solo artist in the chart's history to achieve twenty Hot 100 top ten singles, breaking the previous record set by Madonna.[114] The song later became Rihanna's eleventh number one single on the chart.[115] With this, Rihanna became only the seventh artist in the 53-year history of the chart to amass at least eleven number one singles, behind The Beatles (20), Mariah Carey (18), Michael Jackson (13), Madonna (12), The Supremes (12) and tying with Whitney Houston, who also achieved eleven number one singles. Additionally, Rihanna moved into third place, tied with Houston, for the female artist with the most number one singles, behind Carey and Madonna.[116] "We Found Love" ultimately spent ten non consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, surpassing "Umbrella" as Rihanna's longest number one single, and was 2011's longest-running number one in the country.[117][118] In the UK, the single became Rihanna's second solo single (third overall) to sell over one million copies in the country alone, after "Love The Way You Lie" and "Only Girl (In The World)" (2010).[119] "We Found Love" was a superior global sensation, topping charts in eighteen countries worldwide and peaking in the top ten of charts in thirty countries, breaking a string of records worldwide. It became Rihanna's highest-charting single on the Japan Hot 100 and her best-selling single in New Zealand.[120] The song was covered by many popular artists including the Glee Cast and both Coldplay and Jessie J, in the Radio 1 Live Lounge.[121][122][122] "You Da One" was released as the second single from the album on November 11, 2011;[123] and was a moderate success reaching the top twenty in both the UK and US.[124][125] It was followed by the title track featuring Jay-Z as the third single in early 2012, after asking fans on Twitter.[126] It has currently reached numbers 25 and 31 in the UK, and US, respectively. At the end of 2011, Rihanna was named the highest-selling singles artist of the year in the UK, having overtaken Adele by a sales margin of 6,000 units.[127]

On January 8, 2012, Rihanna was named the best-selling digital artist of all time in the United States, having sold 47,571,000 million singles and albums as of 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[128] In early 2012, two collaborations featuring Rihanna were released; Coldplay's "Princess of China" from the album Mylo Xyloto and Drake's Take Care from his album of the same name.[129][130] Both have currently reached the top twenty of the Billboard Hot 100 at numbers 20 and nine, respectively.[131][132] In February, "All of the Lights" was nominated for Song of the Year, 'Best Rap Song', and 'Best Rap/Sung Collaboration' at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012, eventually winning the latter two awards, bringing Rihanna's total Grammy awards to six.[133] Later that month, Rihanna won her second BRIT Award for 'Best International Female Artist', following the same win the previous year.[134]

On February 16, 2012, it was speculated that former boyfriend Chris Brown was the featured artist on the full length version of Rihanna's track, "Birthday Cake", from Talk That Talk.[135] These rumours were later confirmed when Rihanna posted the song on her Twitter account on her 24th birthday, February 20, 2012, after over a week of speculation. The reports gained worldwide media controversy, due to Brown and Rihanna's physical altercation three years prior.[135] Beth Hardie for the Daily Mirror wrote that the remix came as a shock and noted that Rihanna would face harsh criticism from journalists and fans alike for setting a bad example to younger girls. Hardie continued to state that although the collaboration came as a surprise, "We have to admit, it’s a pretty amazing stroke of genius in terms of publicity and messing with people’s minds."[136] In addition to the shocking remix for the Rihanna track, the pair furthermore fueled controversy having recorded another remix together, this time for Brown's single, "Turn Up the Music" which was released moments later.[137] Rihanna will appear as Petty Officer, Raikes in the Peter Berg-produced film Battleship, which is based on the game of the same name, due for release in May 2012.[138]



Volume 65 of the Contemporary Black Biography book series notes that "Rihanna is the rare rhythm and blues (R&B) diva to emerge from the Caribbean world."[139] Becoming an international sensation, Rihanna is known for blending R&B with Caribbean music, such as reggae and dancehall.[140] At the time of her debut, reviewers referred to her as a "bubblegum queen"[141] and her music to "teen pop."[142] Larry Meyler of The Sun stated that "Rihanna going bad is very good" and that she had "[shaken] off any 'teen pop' image as she rocked the stage."[142] While performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest, Denis Armstrong of Canadian Online Explorer commented on her performance saying "her show was a Disney-esque choreographed fantasy of non-stop hip-swivelling, sassy attitude and personal endearments and a string of funky, sugar-free hits."[141]

Rihanna performing on her Loud Tour in Sunrise, Florida.

Rihanna was originally marketed as a reggae singer since she burst into the music scene in 2005, with a styles of pop, R&B and dancehall. Her music include various styles of musical genres, including contemporary R&B, dance-pop and the Caribbean music styles of reggae and dancehall.[143] With the release of Music of the Sun and its lead single "Pon de Replay", Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic described Rihanna's musical style as "synthesize Caribbean rhythms and beats with standard-issue urban dance-pop: Caribbean-inflected urban, if you will."[144] Rihanna is described as utilizing "dancehall-lite beats and a reggae vocal cadence."[144] NME describes the singer as a "heady mix of dancehall, reggae and contemporary R&B."[145] Barry Walters of Rolling Stone considers Rihanna's A Girl Like Me to be "lightweight dancehall and R&B jams."[146] After the release of Good Girl Gone Bad, Allmusic's Andy Kellman credits Rihanna to be "as pop as pop gets."[147] Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times described her hit "Umbrella" as a lightweight pop confection with a heavy hip-hop backbeat, a breezy love song enriched by those unexpectedly goth-sounding keyboards and by the incongruous hint of anguish in Rihanna’s girlish voice.[148]

Her debut album featured production from pop veterans Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken who first discovered her. Sturken and Rogers have collaborated with Rihanna many times, including with her debut single "Pon de Replay", which helped launch her career with the tradition of reggae and dance pop and collaborated on her second album. Rihanna then enlisted into the pop and contemporary R&B working with music producer Stargate and singer-songwriter Ne-Yo on "Unfaithful"[42] and sampling the key section, bass line, and drum beat from Soft Cell's 1981 single "Tainted Love" on "SOS".[149] With songs like "Kisses Don't Lie" and "Shut Up and Drive", her music style became more rock-oriented.[29] Unlike Music of the Sun or A Girl Like Me, her third album contained a more dance-pop sound[150] and less of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles of her previous albums.[151] She has included various styles of music from uptempo pop-reggae with "Pon De Replay", 1980s new wave-fueled club banger "SOS" and the whiff of gothic horror in love song, "Unfaithful". Most of her love subject ballads contain a mid-tempo pop sound, with an R&B influences that uses of a gently strummed acoustic guitar with the production of Stargate and the songs written by Ne-Yo.[30] Some of her up-tempo dance-pop songs include production from Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and J. R. Rotem.[152] She has also sampled songs from other artist like Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" on "SOS",[149] New Order's "Blue Monday" on "Shut Up and Drive" and 1970s original song "Soul Makossa" of Manu Dibango with a part of the chorus from Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" on "Don't Stop the Music".


Rihanna has released a total of 33 music videos in her career, including seven as a featured artist. In addition, she has made guest appearances in three other artist's videos. In addition, she has released a live DVD, "Good Girl Gone Bad Live" of her supporting tour in 2008. It was nominated for Best Long Form Music Video at the 51st Grammy Awards.[153] She plans to release her second live DVD in 2012 of her '"Loud Tour".[154]

Recently, the singer's visuals have made her the centre of controversy for being sexually provocative and presenting a string of controversial issues, with many of her videos being heavily edited for television broadcasting. On the other hand, critics have noted Rihanna's strong ability to show signs of emotional acting in her productions and her artistic side as a co-producer and director. Also, Rihanna also has the talent to produce soft, relaxing videos with simple storylines as well as more hard-hitting, gritty complicated ones too. In total, her videos have been nominated for 82 awards worldwide, winning 14, and have been viewed over two billion times on Rihanna's official VEVO account on YouTube, making Rihanna the first female artist to reach the feat.[155]

George Epaminondas of InStyle considers Rihanna's music videos to be "cinematic" due to her "blend of lush island rhythms and swinging pop and ... mischievous sensuality."[156] Although not widely publicised, the video for "Unfaithful" in 2006 shows the singer commiting adultery. "Umbrella", released in 2007 showed Rihanna's movement from a teenager into a young woman, with Rihanna's newly adopted slightly sexual image. The video remained at the top of MTV’s Total Request Live chart for fifteen days, the longest running number one of 2007. In total, it recieved over 8,000 plays on the channel, receiving a Platinum recognition at the MTV Platinum and Gold Video Awards.[157] 2008 saw the release of the edgy video for dance-pop track, "Disturbia". The visual was Rihanna's most experimental and dark at the time involving the singer in a torture chamber, beginning to use wigs, and contact lenses which appeared to completely remove the pupils from her eyes. Simon Vozick-Levinson from 'Entertainment Weekly' reviewed the video commenting: "It looks like she accidentally wandered into [...] some sort of freaky Victorian mental hospital". He later continued saying that the video was not what he expected from a dance-pop song, but he thought it was "also cool" that Rihanna tried "something new".[158] The video was partially influenced by Michael Jackson with a Thriller-esque dance routine included. Following her altercation in 2009, Rihanna's music videos became much more dark but similtaneously creative. The music video for her 2009 "Rated R" debut single, "Russian Roulette" linked visual references to the lyrics and title, involving the use of guns in a game of russian roulette and the storyline of showing Rihanna being immortal even after facing deadly ordeals including being put in a gas chamber, being run over by a car in woods and being shot at underwater and on a chair. Ultimately, her game partner, played by actor Jesse Williams[159] loses the game between himself and Rihanna, committing suicide with the revolver that was placed between them - highlighting the fact that Rihanna is indestructable. Although not visually shown in the clip, the gun shot sound effect used in the song was muted on music television channels.

In 2010, Rihanna began to collaborate with video director, Melina Matsoukas. Their first video together, "Hard" used a strong theme of military war. "Rude Boy"'s music video contrasted against the dark themes found in the remaining productions from "Rated R", being extremely colourful with the use of bold and Jamaican colours. Several media outlets noticed a resemblance between the colorful aesthetics of "Rude Boy" and British singer-songwriter and rapper M.I.A.'s video "Boyz" also directed by Matsoukas.[160] In 2011, Rihanna released, what is considered one of her most controversial music videos to date, for her already controversial single, "S&M", directed again by Matsoukas. It portrays softcore sadomasochist acts and fetishes and due to this content, the video was banned in many countries and restricted to night-time television in others. Rihanna reacted to the ban by posting the video onto her official website after it was age-restricted on popular worldwide video sharing site, YouTube.[161] Critics complimented the use of vibrant colors and Rihanna's sensuality – but the video was the subject of a plagiarism lawsuit after photographer David LaChapelle alleged that it incorporated ideas from his photo shoot for Vogue Italia. After working with Matsoukas again on the video for the 2011 single, "You Da One", the video too sparked rumours of using other artist's work, with a 2008 shoot by Norwegian photographer Solve Sundsbo being compared. It gained inspiration from the 1971 film, "A Clockwork Orange".

Also in the same year, "Loud" single "Man Down" was brought into the public eye after its release for dealing with the difficult issue of rape. In the video, Rihanna is seen shooting a man in a train station after being attacked, singing how she regrets her actions. Due to the violent nature of the video, the Parents Television Council criticized the singer and attempted to ban the video with no success. However, actress Gabrielle Union praised the video commenting she thought it did a "great job of getting the entire world talking about rape" and hoped that it would lead to the healing and prevention of the crime.[162] "Cheers (Drink to That)" produced Rihanna's first non-professional music video, instead appearing as a montage of clips from Rihanna's 'Loud Tour'. Also released in 2011, "We Found Love"'s music video presented a line of more disputed activities including, theft, anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and abusive relationships, the use of drugs and being under the influence of hallucinogens, alcohol and the production of tattoos and is considered as another one of Rihanna's most controversial music videos. The production of the video was also brought into the public eye after the removal of the singer's clothes during filming.[163] One journalist wrote, "The song is probably one of the most talked about in the country following the Barbadian being told to 'find God' after running naked through a Northern Irish farmer's field."[164] It was described as a "disgrace" by an anti-rape campaigner,[165] and Christian commenters worried about the effects of the video and that "Rihanna is damaging the moral and self-worth of young impressionable teens."[166] However, The Guardian praised the video for standing out in its time period and for being "a very British music video" that suited the singer "perfectly". They also compared it to UK TV series, Skins and Requiem for a Dream.[167]


Rihanna perfoming on her Loud Tour in December 2011.

Rihanna has named Madonna as her idol and biggest influence, and said she wants to be the "black Madonna".[168][169] She said: "I think that Madonna was a great inspiration for me, especially on my earlier work. If I had to examine her evolution through time, I think she reinvented her clothing style and music with success every single time. And at the same time remained a real force in entertainment in the whole world."[168] Rihanna also cites Whitney Houston as a major influence and idol. In an InStyle article, Rihanna said of Houston, "she is a big idol of mine and so influential". Rihanna also sang Houston's version of "For The Love Of You" to clinch her record deal with Jay-Z.[168] After the premature death of Houston in February 2012, Rihanna was quoted as having "no words" and could not think about anything else after hearing the news.[168] Rihanna also cited Mariah Carey as her influence and idol. She said "I looked up to [Mariah] a lot and I still do. I admire her as an artist, and to [compete with her] was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life.[40][170][171] Of Janet Jackson, Rihanna has commented that "[s]he was one of the first female pop icons that I could relate to ... She was so vibrant, she had so much energy. She still has power. I’ve seen her on stage, and she can stand there for 20 minutes and have the whole arena scream at her. You have to love Janet."[172] Beyoncé has been named as a major influence,[173][174] citing that she was inspired to start her career after watching Knowles on television as part of a Destiny's Child performance.[175] Her other musical influences include Bob Marley, (for whom she built a shrine in her Los Angeles home)[176] Alicia Keys, Destiny's Child, Celine Dion,[177] Brandy[178] and Gwen Stefani.[179] Her friend and former Island Def Jam record label artist Fefe Dobson was someone that she admired and looked up to, having a fellow artist writing, singing, and performing the music she truly loves.[180][181]

Rihanna's music contains strong influences of Caribbean music which include reggae and dancehall. The video for "Rude Boy" was inspired by her Caribbean roots.[182] In an interview, she stated that while growing up in Barbados she grew up listening to reggae music and when she came to the United States she was exposed to many different types of music.[183] During the "Good Girl Gone Bad Tour", she peformed a cover of "Is This Love" which paid tribute to Marley; she would later do a cover song to Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Redemption Song".[184] Rihanna commented that Marilyn Monroe and vintage clothing served for visual inspiration for the music video "Hate That I Love You" and "Rehab"; in contrast, the "dark, creepy" scenes of "Disturbia" have drawn comparison to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The music video ranked number five on the "Top Five Most Paranoid Music Videos" published by MTV Buzzworthy.[185] Jon Bream of the Star Tribune commented "[i]n the tradition of Madonna and Janet Jackson, Rihanna has become the video vixen of the '00s ... Rihanna has perfected the pout, the long-legged strut and trend-setting hairdos that keep women and men alike checking her out on YouTube."[186]

Public image[edit]

New York magazine described Rihanna's early look as that of a cookie-cutter teen queen while stating that she has the ability to shift looks dramatically and with great ease.[187] This was underscored when in March 2011 American Chronicle writer Arturo Tora termed her “Rihannaissance Woman.” Around the time of the release of her second album, many critics felt that Rihanna's sound and musical material were too similar to those of Beyoncé.[188][189][190] Negative reviews appeared, in which her music,[191] music videos, performances[192][193] and her image were compared to those of Beyoncé,[194] which garnered Rihanna much criticism.[195] Some media even claimed that Jay-Z fashioned her to be a replica of Beyoncé.[193][196]

Rihanna performing "Hard" on her "Last Girl on Earth Tour" in 2010.

During the release of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, she adopted a more sexual image. Sonya Magett of Black Voices reported that Rihanna's style has become quite risqué since she burst onto the scene four years ago. After revealing a new image while headlining her first tour, she was likely to be criticized for her tight leather outfit during each show.[197] A review in The Times compared Rihanna's stage wardrobe styling to that of Janet Jackson. He described her outfit as "a vision of Ann Summers couture in thigh-high boots and a few scraps of black PVC."[198] Stuart Derdeyn of The Province commented that "even with the whole haute couture B&D clearly firing on all points, she's still got a ways to go to become the new Janet Jackson."[199] Rihanna was listed on People's 10 Best Dressed Stars of 2008,[200] and ranked seventeenth on Glamour magazine's list of the 50 Most Glamorous Women in 2009.[201] Tracey Lomrantz of Glamour commented, "If style risks could be measured in miles, Rihanna would have criss-crossed the globe a thousand times over already."[202] Rihanna was also declared as Woman of the Year 2009 by Glamour.[203] In June 2007, Gillette named her the Venus Breeze's Celebrity Legs of a Goddess.[204] Rihanna is known to be best friends with fellow pop singer, Katy Perry, and both appear together frequently at award shows and parties. Rihanna organised Perry's hen night party and was said to be conciled by Rihanna during her marriage break-up from Russell Brand, inviting her to stay with her whilst on holiday in Barbados.[205][206]


Rihanna is well known for having a wide collection of small tattoos around her body. The sixteen in total include two musical notes on the front of her ankle, a skull with a pink hair bow on the back of her ankle, a Pisces sign behind her right ear,[207][208] a Sanskrit prayer going down her hip, a star in her left ear,[209] the word "love" on her left middle finger,[210] an Arabic phrase meaning "Freedom in Christ" on her ribcage area,[211] a trail of stars going down the back of her neck,[212][213] the phrase "shhh..." on her right index finger,[214] the date 11.4.86 in Roman numerals on top of her left shoulder,[215] a henna-style tribal dragon claw including hibiscus flowers inside her right hand/wrist,[216] and a handgun under her right armpit. A gun tattoo was planned to be placed just below her shoulders but was ultimately located on her ribcage.[217] In answer to criticism for her violence-themed tattoo, Keith "Bang Bang" McCurdy, her tattoo artist, was quick to explain his opinion that the image simply "represents strength and power".[218] In late 2009, Rihanna had the phrase, "Never a failure, always a lesson" inked onto her chest backwards as she wanted to be able to read it in the mirror; it is her "motto in life for everything".[219] In mid-2010, the phrase "rebelle fleur" was tattooed onto the singer's neck, meaning "rebel/rebellious flower" in French.[220] In early 2012, Rihanna had her sixteenth and latest tattoo spelling, "THUG LIFE" spread across her individual knuckles in light pink ink. It was inspired by rapper Tupac "2Pac" Shakur's tattoo, who had the same slogan inked across his stomach.[221]


Since 2009, the logo for Rihanna has been very defining of the artist, appearing on almost all of Rihanna's singles and albums since. It has also been included for tours, merchandise and promotions. Rihanna first revealed her new logo in 2009 when she posted a message on her Twitter account stating "The Wait Is Ova. Nov 23 09" which accompanied a metallic bent-metal-shaped letter "R" for the singer's name. The cold and edgy style of the logo was reflected in the album's style for the period, "Rated R". In Rihanna's self titled book, artistic director and designer of the logo, Simon Henwood[222] explained the concept behind the creation:

"The 'R' Logo started as a piece of origami - a little folded piece of paper I then worked up into a CGI model. I wanted to create something that could work on multiple levels. This final design has been used across the campaign for Rihanna's tour - from the website as an animation sting to jewelry [sic] design to the print logo used on 'Rated R' and tour posters."

An upgraded second version of the symbol was revealed in late 2010 following the release of Rihanna's fifth studio album, "Loud". It was opposite to the previous design, being very warm, colourful and softer with rose flower colours. The design was reflected in the album's style for the period with the singer moving from sombre and dark tones to dance-pop and energetic atmospheres.

The third and latest design premiered in September 2011 as part of Rihanna's "UNLOCKED" campaign on Facebook to support her new album. This time, the logo appeared as the 'R' made from many words in black and white. It was later revealed that the first single, "We Found Love" from her sixth studio album, "Talk That Talk" was featured in seperate words within the logo, as well as the album title. The two titles are most dominant in the logo, having the largest fonts. The shape of the 'R' is slightly different from the previous two, with the right point reaching in-line with the left point, as opposed to the right point being above the left in the preceding versions. The design of the logo reflects the purpose of the album's title as public speech.[223]

Other ventures[edit]

Rihanna singing "Shut Up and Drive" in August 2010

In October 2005, Rihanna struck her first endorsement deal with Secret Body Spray[224] for them to sponsor her first tour, Rihanna's Secret Body Spray Tour[225] In 2006, Rihanna participated in several endorsement deals, including Nike sportswear for the launch of her "SOS"[29] and J. C. Penney. That same year, she received an endorsement deal from Clinique to promote their Happy fragrance.[226] She recorded a song written by Ne-Yo entitled "Just Be Happy" as part of the deal to promote their Happy fragrance. Rihanna also recorded a song called "Winning Women" with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger for Procter & Gamble's female deodorant Secret. In 2007, Rihanna signed with CoverGirl and became a celebrity spokesperson which included appearances on TV commercials[227][228] and in the Barbados Tourism Authority's tourism commercials.

In December 2008, Rihanna contracted with Gucci to appear in their ads for the Tattoo Heart Collection, a special-edition line.[229][230] In the Gucci handbag ad, Rihanna is seen hanging from a giant hoop, scantily clad in a barely-there white bodysuit and wearing an oversized white Gucci purse.[231] The success of her single, "Umbrella" earned her an endorsement deal with Totes.[232][233] Her handlers pitched her hit "Umbrella" to Totes and the song became the soundtrack for commercials in which she starred.[234] On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Rihanna inked a fragrance deal with Jay-Z’s licensing company Iconic Fragrances.[235] The fragrance is named Reb'l Fleur and was released in 2011.[236] Rihanna was working with her artistic director for Rated R, Simon Henwood, on the book Rihanna. It was released on September 14, 2010.[237][238] In August 2010 Rihanna appeared in an Australian television advert for Optus, who sponsered her 2010 'Last Girl on Earth Tour'.[239] In May 2011, Rihanna became a spokeswoman for the German skincare brand Nivea.[240] Her song "California King Bed" was featured as a part of Nivea's "100 Years of Skincare" commercial campaign.[241] Rihanna revealed in late 2011 that she was working with Armani to design her own collection of jeans and lingerie for the Italian fashion giant. The range features two styles of jeans, a leather biker jacket, a canvas bag, two T-shirts - one emblazoned with an illustration of herself, the other featuring Rihanna's "R" logo - and a bandana-styled belt. In addition, lace bra and knicker sets will be made available. Rihanna began promotion for her jeans collection by filming a commercial featuring her track, "Skin" taken from her 2010 album, "Loud" whilst donning Armani's designer underwear and jeans.[242][243] Rihanna will release the follow up to her 2011 perfume, "Rebelle" in Spring 2012.[244]


Rihanna created her Believe Foundation in 2006 to help terminally ill children.[245][246] Rihanna explained her reasons for starting the foundation saying, "When I was young and I would watch television and I would see all the children suffering, I always said: when I grow up, I want to help."[247] Rihanna is also heavily involved in the marketing of her native country of Barbados.[248] She began by including the flag and broken trident in many of her videos, shooting her album packaging for A Girl Like Me there.[248] In September 2007, she became the official face of tourism for Barbados, being included in many of their ad campaigns. She holds the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.[249] She additionally was honored by the Prime Minister David Thompson, who presented her with several gifts at a national concert on February 20, 2008, in Barbados, called "Rihanna Day".[250][251] In February 2008, Rihanna thanked and honoured her country during the acceptance speech for her win of "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" at the Grammy Awards.[252] Although Rihanna is heavily involved in the promotion of her country and works with the government in Barbados to do so, she is often criticized by other Barbadians[253] for everything from her music to her successes and for wearing "skimpy clothes".[254][255] Rihanna, speaking on one incident, said, "I went to the beach and I had on a one-piece swimsuit with jeans [...] They took the picture and they made it look like a top that was really revealing... There were [...] radio programmes about it. It was a big deal for, like, three weeks straight – talking about I'm not setting a good example."[256] Rihanna states she was bullied at school. "Having lighter skin wasn’t a problem in my household, but it was when I went to school – which really confused me at first. The harassment continued to my very last day of elementary school."[257]

Rihanna performing on her Loud Tour in June 2011.

Rihanna has performed a number of concerts to raise funds for both charities and the Foundation and is a 2008 Cartier Love Charity Bracelet Ambassador. She performed at Madonna’s Raising Malawi fundraiser on February 6, 2008, in New York City.[258] After becoming an honorary cultural ambassador for Barbados, Rihanna became involved with DKMS, an international donor network based in Tübingen, Germany, to try to find a donor for Lisa Gershowitz Flynn.[259] The Manhattan attorney had been diagnosed in November with acute myelogenous leukemia.[260] In January 2008, Rihanna contributed in the fight against AIDS when she visited the H&M in New York to support Fashion Against AIDS by presenting her t-shirt design and signing autographs for a limited time with slogans like "Believe" and "Stop and Think."[261] The collection features t-shirts and hoodies designed by Rihanna, Timbaland and other well-known designers, musicians and artists.[262] The line, called Fashion Against AIDS, was launched in February 2008 to raise awareness of the disease among teens and spread awareness about HIV/AIDS.[263] In August 2008, Rihanna and other pop, rock, R&B and country singers such as Carrie Underwood, Ciara, Beyoncé Knowles, Leona Lewis, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and Fergie recorded the charity single, "Just Stand Up!", the theme song to the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer and its theme song.[264] The singers performed the song live on September 5, 2008.[265] Rihanna was also selected as the spokesmodel for Gucci’s first United Nations Children's Fund ad campaign.[266] She appeared in the fashion house’s Tattoo Heart campaign, which premiered in December 2008.[267] Rihanna was photographed in series of special edition print ads with United Nations Children's Fund items, twenty-five percent of sales will benefit the children’s charity.[268]

On November 19, 2008, Rihanna was enlisted by Gucci's Frida Giannini along with Madonna to light the United Nations Children's Fund Christmas snowflake in New York City at the Grand Army Plaza.[269] In 2008, she became the global representative and the face of the 4th annual Gucci Campaign to Benefit United Nations Children's Fund. The campaign aimed to raise funds for children in Africa through the sale of its Tattoo Heart collection of bags, which launched worldwide on November 19, 2008.[270] Rihanna has been a part of many benefit concerts to help raise money for various illnesses, such as cancer for Hope Rocks.[271] Rihanna performed on January 20, 2009, at the Recording Industry Association of America's Presidential Inauguration Charity Ball to raise money for the world largest anti-hunger organization.[272][273][274] On April 2, 2009, Rihanna visited the NYU Medical Center to help look for another bone marrow donor for a young girl named Jasmina Anema.[275][276] Rihanna first learned about Anema's plight in February 2009, when she saw the moving video Anema's best friend, Isabelle Huurman, and her mother, Karen Detrick, made appealing for donors to save Anema.[277] Rihanna honored Anema's best friend, Isabella, for her efforts for trying to save her best friend at a DKMS Gala on May 7, 2009. Jasmina Anema eventually received her transplant on June 11, 2009,[278][279][280] but died on January 27, 2010.[281] In September 2009, Rihanna performed at Jay-Z's "Answer the Call" concert, which paid tribute to the police officers and firefighters who died on the September 11 attacks.[282] In February 2011, Rihanna was scheduled to perform at a charity concert for the Women's Cancer Research Fund, but was forced to pull out at the last minute, due to bronchitis.[283]


Rihanna is well known for having released many successfully-charting singles and re-inventing her style/image with every new album - often being compared to Madonna. Billboard named Rihanna the 'Digital Songs Artist' of the 2000s decade, and ranked her as the seventeenth overall artist of the same decade.[284][285] Rihanna has dominated Billboard charts since her debut. She is the youngest solo artist in Hot 100 history to achieve ten number one singles on the chart,[2] overtaking such female artists as Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson. She currently ties with Whitney Houston for eleven.[286] In addition, she is the artist with the most digital number-ones in the country.[287] Rihanna also has the record of the solo artist to have amassed twenty top ten singles in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the shortest amount of time, in a time span of six years and four months, surpassing the record previously held by Madonna.[288] The singer has spent a total of 43 weeks atop the Hot 100, the sixth best sum of any artist in the chart's history, surpassing icons such as: Janet Jackson, Elton John, Beyonce, and Michael Jackson. She holds the trio achievement of charting the most number ones, top tens and overall entries on the US Billboard Pop Songs chart.[289] She has attained 17 dance number ones in the country in just over six years, placing joint-third for female artists with the most chart toppers.[290] As of January 2012, Rihanna had sold approximately 47.6 million digital singles in the United States, making her the highest-selling digital artist in the US since 2004, when digital downloads were first made available.[291] By September 2011 she had shipped 7.3 million album units in the US.[292] All of Rihanna's six studio albums released have peaked within the top ten of the Billboard 200.[293]

Rihanna is tied with Madonna for the most transatlantic number ones for a female artist across the US and UK with a total of five singles topping both countries' charts.[294] She has also sold more than 12 million singles in the UK since the release of her debut single in August 2005 - more than any other artist in the six-year time span.[295] In addition, three of her singles (one as a featured artist) have sold over one million copies in the country alone, making her the only female artist to have achieved the milestone. Despite not reaching number one, she had the best-selling single of 2010 in the UK with Eminem, making it the first time since 1969 this has happened. Rihanna has achieved the most weeks at number one of the 2010's decade in the country.[296] From October 2011 to early 2012, "We Found Love" dominated the UK Dance Chart at the top for twelve non-consecutive weeks, becoming the longest ever number one on the chart since it began at the start of the millennium.

Rihanna at the V Festival in 2011.

Rihanna has been admired by many other artists. American recording artist and actress, Christina Aguilera admires the singer, although Aguilera began her career prior to Rihanna's. In an interview with OK! Magazine the diva expressed, "[I really admire] Rihanna. She exudes a confidence and is not afraid to be tough. She gives off a take-charge persona and I find that sexy."[297] Also, teen icon, Selena Gomez revealed that she is influenced by the singer saying, “I think she’s very strong and classy. I look up to that. She carries herself very well.”[298] After being forced to drop out of Rihanna's 'Loud Tour' in 2010 as a supporting act, Trinidadian-born American musician, Nicki Minaj said: “When I first heard about the possibility of touring with Rihanna, I was thrilled to be included on the ticket. I admire Rihanna as an artist and I know it would’ve been a killer line up.”[299] Former Destiny's Child member, Kelly Rowland - whom Rihanna was influenced by at the beginning of her career - praised her saying, "[...] that's what I admire about artists like Rihanna, who don't mind putting it all on their album. Who cares? It's music, and they're making it: great music. And I'm proud of that, that we do have a generation that is just making great music, period.”[300] After assisting him on The X Factor USA, record executive, songwriter, and record producer, L.A. Reid, who signed Rihanna to his record label in 2005, spoke of the singer as, "masterful". He continued by saying, "this girl gets it. She understands the true depths of it, the personalities, the material, the voice, the voice intonations, the imaging of it. As we discussed each performer and the different layers, I haven't had that calibre of a discussion about a musical artist or musical acts with anyone in quite some time."[301]

Rihanna has had 21 number one singles worldwide. The singer has effectively accumalated 52 weeks (a year) atop the worldwide singles chart so far. Only Michael Jackson (54 weeks), Elvis Presley (70 weeks), The Beatles (77 weeks) and Madonna (116 weeks) have spent more time at the summit. Her list of best-selling singles worldwide include, "Love The Way You Lie" (2010), which is Rihanna's highest-selling single having sold over nine million copies to date. It also appears just inside the top 75 highest-charting worldwide best-sellers. Others consist of: "Umbrella" (8.6 million) - her biggest solo hit; "Only Girl (In The World)" and "Don't Stop The Music" (7.5 million each); "We Found Love" (7.3 million) - Rihanna's longest-running chart topper worldwide with fourteen weeks at the summit; and "Disturbia" (7.2 million).[302] During her current six year career, Rihanna has sold more records around the world than notable artists such as Beyonce Knowles, Prince, Shakira, and Kylie Minogue who's careers range from nine to 36 years, making the achievement even more impressive.

She has received a total of 407 award nominations, winning 188 in Pop, R&B, Soul, Rock, and Rap categories. Rihanna's home-country of Barbados has provided the singer with 49 nominations and 33 wins at the Barbados Music Awards. She has achieved platinum-status certifications for her albums in 23 countries and multi-platinum in 16. Rihanna is featured in the 2010 volume of The Guinness Book of World Records'. Her award was based on the 2.5 million downloads of "Umbrella" she sold overseas from September of 2005 to the end of 2008, which made her the "Best-Selling Download Female Artist in the UK".[303] She is also included in the 2012 edition, being the first female artist to have UK number one singles in five consecutive years.[304] "Umbrella" strongly defines Rihanna to most people as it contributed to her breakout as a global superstar. Furthermore, it is remembered for making a coincidental impact on weather in the United Kingdom referred to as the "Rihanna Curse", whilst it dominated the top of the charts.[305] Rihanna has been named "The Queen of YouTube" after recieving the most music video views combined for a female artist,[306] and "The Queen of Facebook" for the most fans on the social networking site.[307] Overall, she is the second most popular social networking star in the world behind Lady Gaga combining Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter views and fans.[308] Rihanna has four wax figures of herself at Madame Tussauds Wax Museums in Washington D.C., Vienna, Berlin and London.[309][310][311] In December 2008, Margeaux Watson of Entertainment Weekly wrote an article entitled "Rihanna: Diva of the Year" in which he referred to her breakout success of 2008.[312] She has appeared on FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" chart five times since 2007. Her highest placement was recently in 2011, appearing in third place.[313] [314] Also, Rihanna has appeared on Maxim's Hot 100 list in five consecutive years, her highest peak being crowned sixth in 2010.[315][316][317][318] The singer was given the title, "Sexiest Woman Alive" from Esquire in 2011.[319]




Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


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