A RIHANNA museum could soon be a reality, the prime minister of Barbados has revealed.
During her recent speaking engagement at Kensington Town Hall, London, Mia Amor Mottley, Barbados’ first female president, told the audience that talks were taking place over the creation of a permanent, interactive cultural tribute to the singer.
Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was born and raised in the Caribbean island, moving to the US when she was 16 to start her music career.
While the 31-year-old’s talents have taken her around the globe and expanded far beyond the music industry, she regularly returns to her home country and is often seen playing mas at Crop Over, Barbados’ annual carnival. She also continually demonstrates her support for the country through charitable works and education initiatives and proudly reps it while she’s away.
Her ambassadorial efforts were officially recognised when she was appointed as an ambassador of Barbados, with a specific focus on the promotion of education, tourism and investment last year.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Barbados High Commission in London on Saturday evening, Mottley, who has spent just over a year in power, said: “Anybody who could start going to school on a ZR [route taxi] from Westbury to Waterford and could now be the most successful woman entertainer in the entire globe in my view deserves to be recognised in her life as a living legend of Barbados as well.”
Recalling how at 18 years old during an interview Rihanna spoke about building her empire, Mottley said: “She didn’t say ‘I want to build a business’ or ‘when I build a successful business’, she said ‘when I build my empire’ – and I’ve never forgotten that – and she has built an empire and is still building it.”
And the prime minister seems keen to support the expansion of that empire – and the public record of it.
Praising Bajan cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers, who was in the audience, Mottley drew parallels between the country’s cultural landmarks recognising his achievements and her hopes for similar ones for Rihanna. Sobers is among those honoured in the Legends of Barbados Cricket Museum and an impressive statue depicting him batting stands outside the Oval, Barbados’ premier cricket ground.
The leader of the Barbados Labour Party, said: “We’ve been discussing with her [Rihanna] family – her brother in particular and her management – the need for them to establish a major museum with the government in Westbury Road so that people who leave the cruise terminal or who are at Kensington visiting for cricket have another iconic thing besides the Legends of Barbados Museum there at Herbert House.”
She added: “We hope that her family and government can work together to make that a meaningful experience in the same way that when you go to Kingston, you can go and visit Bob Marley’s house.”
Last week Rihanna was named the richest female musician by Forbes magazine, surpassing the likes of Madonna, Céline Dion and Beyoncé.
The publication attributed the majority of the singer’s fortune to her partnership with luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, through which she launched her inclusive makeup brand, Fenty Beauty.
The museum would expand on the tributes that have already been paid to the star in her home country.
In 2017, under former Barbados prime minister Freundel Stuart, Westbury New Road, where Rihanna grew up on the island, was renamed Rihanna Drive.
During a ceremony, which the star attended, a fixed monument featuring a brief bio of the singer and her personal welcome to visitors was unveiled on the now-famous street.