Columns, Opinion

Miss Leading: Why Rihanna is the unspoken heroine of our generation

I have looked up to Rihanna ever since I was a kid. It was always confusing to my parents — and really anyone older than me — since even Rihanna herself has said she isn’t really someone to look up to. However, to me, all the things Rihanna has done have just proven how incredible and inspiring she really is.

She essentially started her career from the bottom, but still managed to make her way to the very top, including coming back from a very public assault case involving her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown. As a singer, actress, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Rihanna is one of the world’s greatest unspoken heroines. And in the latest in her long list of accomplishments, Rihanna just came out with her very own beauty line, one that caters to every skin color and empowers women to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin. Her ability to show attention to detail and care to the people of the world shows how dedicated she is — not only to better herself, but also to better society as a whole.

Ever since she got into the music industry in 2005, Rihanna has been on a nonstop mission to show women that we don’t need to fit into the gender stereotypes that surround us, even if this mission started out as a subconscious one. The very fact that she sings with so much confidence inspires many women to take risks in their daily lives — it is empowering in and of itself. In addition, as a survivor of abuse, she has taken a strong stance on how to be strong in times where a person can feel at their weakest point. She has taught us how to “Shine bright like a diamond” and given us the anthem to “Work.”

More than just her singing career though, Rihanna has also acted in numerous movies, most recently, “Ocean’s Eight” (a spinoff of George Clooney’s trilogy, “Ocean’s Eleven”). Most importantly, though, Rihanna has proven time and time again that she truly cares and is dedicating her life towards helping children in need. She has aided in raising funds for dozens of different causes, and throughout her fame, has always understood the importance of giving back to the communities that need help the most. Many celebrities are involved with philanthropy and give back to their communities, but I feel as though Rihanna has a real passion for helping people who truly need it.

Even early on in her career, Rihanna didn’t refer to herself as a role model, but rather as a “bad gal,” and I think that she has definitely changed who she is as a person over the last 12 years and has transformed her entire career to help other women feel as incredible as she probably does. Her political awareness and global involvement have allowed her to become one of the most influential women of this generation. Clearly, there are other women and people in general who have done similar things, but for me, it’s more than just about what she’s done, it’s also just about who she is as a person.

I’ve grown up in a time where, fortunately, I have not been forced to live a certain way or have a certain lifestyle. Rather, I have been empowered to do something more with my life than just provide satisfaction for another person. Rihanna has taught me how to “Work,” “Shut Up and Drive” and “Take a Bow.” I have purpose in this world, and thanks to Rihanna, I’m set out to fulfill all of my goals.

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