With a string of awards and nominations for her work in music, film, and fashion industry, Rihanna is one of the highest achieving ladies in Hollywood. And now she’s been recognised for her generous heart, receiving the super prestigious Harvard University Humanitarian Award.
The Harvard Foundation honoured the ‘Love On The Brain’ singer for her work building a centre for oncology and nuclear medicine in her hometown of Bridgetown, Barbados. The 29 year old was also celebrated for her work with the Clara Lionel Foundation, named after her grandparents, which she founded in 2012 to fund education and healthcare for poverty-stricken communities around the world.
In true Rhi-rhi style, she started her acceptance speech with complete sass:
She went on to explain how her passion for helping people and wanting to change lives started when she was a little girl.
“When I was five or six years old, I remember watching TV and I would see these commercials… watching other children suffer in other parts of the world. And I would think to myself like, I wonder how many 25 cents I could save up to save all the kids in Africa.” she recalled.
“I would say to myself you know, ‘when I grow up, when I can get rich, I’mma save kids all over the world’. I just didn’t know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager.”
After speaking about the organisations she has since founded, Rihanna shared some inspiring advice.
“What the 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,” she continued, “You don’t have to be famous, you don’t have to be college educated. But it starts with your neighbour.”
“All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian.”
The singer ended her speech by urging people to open their hearts – and their wallets.
“I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person: one organisation, one situation that touches your heart,” she said. “My grandmother always used to say if you’ve got a dollar, there’s plenty to share. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. It was my honour.”
Watch her down-to-earth speech in full below, starting at 1:16:00.