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What next, Ambassador Rihanna?

Like every right-thinking Barbadian, we are proud of our homegirl Rihanna and the heights she has reached on the world stage.

Recently, the exquisitely beautiful RiRi graced the cover of Vogue for the third time in just four years, and was named an icon twice –– first at the 2013 American Music Awards and then this week by the Council Of Fashion Designers Of America.

Without a doubt, her rise has been meteoric and her success at the tender age of 26 remains unmatched, by Barbadian standards. But there is an elephant in the room and we feel the need to confront it. Does her “good girl, gone bad” image really mesh with who we are as a people?

And should we be proud of the fact that mention is being made of Barbados’ name every time she ditches her bikini bottom, goes topless for another mag, or shows up half-naked to receive an international award?

Indeed, while our cultural and tourism officials continue to sit back quietly, seemingly taking everything in stride –– both good and bad –– the question needs to be asked: is “Ambassador Rihanna” really helping or hurting our bread and butter tourism product?

In any case, we would be happy to hear from Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy on this. He could perhaps show us the evidence that best explains why our industry numbers are still plummeting when we have one of the best-selling products globally behind our brand.

Culturally, too, is this smoking party animal, who generally communicates in four-letter words, and makes a point of being “audacious –– even jaw-dropping or button-pushing”, generally reflecting the quintessential definition of the “Bajan woman”?

Nah! We think not –– or maybe she does! In a week when our economy was exposed for what it is, RiRi also created headlines with her sheer fishnet gown for the Council Of Fashion Designers Of America Awards, sparkling as it was with thousands of embedded crystals, but leaving little underneath to the imagination. Her outfit, at least, could be said to best reflect our mood and national circumstance –– shimmering bright on the surface, but revealing otherwise hidden crevices.

In her defence, some of her fellow Cawmerians and others have argued –– rightfully so –– that Rihanna did not ask to be anyone’s role model, and she certainly doesn’t need our approval. After all, she’s a superstar!

Furthermore, as an entertainer seeking to remain relevant, it is a requirement, apparently not a choice, that she constantly push the envelope to maintain her “iconic” status.

Still, so grateful must we be that she has put Barbados on the map, we must never ever be heard to issue a critical word of her, even when it is painfully obvious that her rolling train is speeding down a deadly track most certain to lead to a painful crash –– if not total destruction!

As she accepted the 2014 Fashion Icon Award this week, Rihanna spoke of her origins in Barbados, where she said she didn’t have a lot of access to fashion.

However, she admitted: “Fashion has always been my defence mechanism.”

Even as a child, she told the crowd, she used to think: “She can beat me, but she can’t beat my outfit.”

Said she: “I can compensate for all my weaknesses with my fashion,” adding: “There are rules, but rules are meant to be broken.”

But at what price and to whom?

In fact, one of our readers put it best this week as the latest controversy enveloped the singer for her “sexually suggestive” campaign that shows Rihanna, almost naked, sitting on the floor with her legs raised against a bottle of Rogue scent:

“There is no need to pose naked to sell perfume. If the scent is worthy, the product will sell.”

We are minded to agree.

29 Responses to What next, Ambassador Rihanna?

  1. Regina Worrell
    Regina Worrell June 6, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Who the hell writes this absolute nonsense? Next thing you’re going to be trying to put her in a damn burka you reactionist, illiterate, troglodyte. You sound like a pop down old fowl who vex because you can’t wear a back out. First you were ranting about gay rights as if only your one have rights and now you got a problem with Rihanna? I’m appalled that people like you get paid to vomit this utter drivel into public space. You are all that is WRONG with Barbados.

  2. Regina Worrell
    Regina Worrell June 6, 2014 at 7:49 am

    The BAJAN WOMAN can be whoever the hell she wants to be, especially if she EARNED IT HER DAMN SELF. So why don’t you take a chill pill and go dunk your head?

  3. Kim Kim
    Kim Kim June 6, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Interesting article…

  4. Daniel Polonis
    Daniel Polonis June 6, 2014 at 7:54 am

    This article is very petty in my opinion, whatever Rihanna does as far as her corporate image is just that hers. There is a good reason she doesnt come back here. as far as her “Ambassador” status that was something David Thompson tossed on her without consulting her first. She is not a role model..she is a 20 something year old who through being at the right place at the right time got a ticket out of Barbados and on to something better. If your going to choose an ambassador for anything perhaps a vetting system should be in place..

    • Regina Worrell
      Regina Worrell June 6, 2014 at 8:01 am

      A vetting system is in place. She is a CULTURAL ambassador for her contribution to popular culture. Every year she wins Grammys and other awards, including this fashion award she just collected. This stupid *borrows a word from Rihanna* who wrote this piece continues to play to the popular idiocy that pretends not to know the difference between a state diplomat (sent overseas to represent our interest at world government level, and who must abide by strict protocols) and a cultural or sport ambassador which is a national honour for AN ACHIEVEMENT that they already finished in the past. Like for example, a sports ambassador for Grenada is the chap who won an Olympic gold medal. Rihanna is probably the ONLY cultural/sports ambassador in the world who CONTINUES to collect awards after getting the title.

    • Adrian Hinds
      Adrian Hinds June 6, 2014 at 9:47 am

      Yeh! Yeh! Regina; setting the record straight for the non-thinkers. 🙂

  5. Adrian M Chase
    Adrian M Chase June 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Can we get a similar article describing our politicians and clergymen?
    ……oh wait….that will be called slander…smh.
    Barbados, the land of hypocrisy!

  6. Adrian M Chase
    Adrian M Chase June 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Can we get a similar article describing our politicians and clergymen?
    ……oh wait….that will be called slander…smh.
    Barbados, the land of hypocrisy!

  7. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins June 6, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Can we just put this topic to rest and deal with the real issues that are plaguing us. First stop the ECONOMY! Second Stop a possible DEVALUATION!

  8. Prince Nick
    Prince Nick June 6, 2014 at 8:38 am

    A, 3 days and we still bithcing about what she wore??? seriously u all need to get a life

  9. Queenie ShaSha
    Queenie ShaSha June 6, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I kno rihanna iz sumwhere smoking a big one and saying this is why I chose to move from bim….that cawmere comment. …barbados today stfuu ….as o said go kadooment and then tell bout nudity

  10. Matie Siew
    Matie Siew June 6, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Leave ri ri alone she making a name for herself so stop hatin concentrate on the downgrade poor ppl water going up light

  11. Julia June 6, 2014 at 8:53 am

    All this talk comes from being jealous and envious of Rihanna. I really don’t see what all the gripe is about.

  12. Joy Pugsley
    Joy Pugsley June 6, 2014 at 9:01 am

    So well said but do we have to talk about her all the time more pressing issues around the world homelessness, hunger etc. People with real life issues.

  13. BREWSTER June 6, 2014 at 9:34 am

    She really isn’t showing or doing any worse than any other person on this planet. Give her some space to be a 26 year old!!!! So what, Barbados has no bad role models in it? We should be grateful that she is still flying the flag even though so many bajans are so quick to run her down. There are other famous white stars that do worst than her and no-one on their home ground is tearing them down.

  14. Daniel Polonis
    Daniel Polonis June 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Now Now. Don’t get mad at editorial…They are still a little shaken up by. Watching the Nation staff getting dragged into court…so they will. Stick to fluff anything serious could get them in trouble

    • Regina Worrell
      Regina Worrell June 6, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Except that the Nation was not dragged into court for anything serious….

  15. Queenie ShaSha
    Queenie ShaSha June 6, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Rihanna was always rihanna….she was taken as she sais she knew what she wanted and she knew she had to leave to get it …..she won a grammy and then sumhow became responsible for what every body chile does. ….theb she got beat up and d same ppl lambast she name gine and coming and laugh too but she came bacj and she made sucesss speak …this guls has millions but she cant njoy sheself amd turnup at 20 sain…we have young ppl herr who dont have jobs v or nain and balling but rihanna iz wrong …….okkkkkkkkk

  16. Katharine Clarke-Weekes
    Katharine Clarke-Weekes June 6, 2014 at 10:48 am

    The haters. Hating as usual. Rihanna-Navy Barbados representing herself first. You all are really ridiculous and I sick of it. She dont have to think about Barbados each time she feels like doing something. The politicians thinking about Barbados? Every time that girl on stage she shouting out a Country thats full of hypocrites. She dont owe us anything. Same rediculous people who talking you should see how they dress for crop-over. My values/your values?????. What you would or would not do is not important in Rihanna’s world. This debate should be about how fast the Island sliding away from us. These destractions going to break us.

  17. Mark Rudder
    Mark Rudder June 6, 2014 at 11:14 am

    The editor of this article needs to seriously separated the girl’s professional life from her personal life. Hop off the RiRi thing already

  18. Blon D Mayers Trotman
    Blon D Mayers Trotman June 6, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Riri got wanna good foolish bout hey and smiling all d way to d bank! Stupse do! Next topic…..

  19. Sharon Antionette Broomes
    Sharon Antionette Broomes June 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    A bunch of two faces people I does c a lot of bajan women n outfits home and a lot does look naked.

  20. Dominique Kahn
    Dominique Kahn June 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    She’ll be butt naked very soon, that’s what’s next

  21. Freeagent June 7, 2014 at 6:34 am

    The love of money is the root of ALL evil

  22. justin case June 7, 2014 at 6:39 am

    There is fashion and then there is high fashion as they call it. I don’t know about high fashion unless I watch an episode of Next Top Model. Most people don’t or wouldn’t because they aren’t and will never be in that bracket. Most of the runway fashion and magazine covers aren’t yo be worn on the street. The woman was receiving the first ever Icon of fashion award and all people especially bajans can talk about is that it was see through. Smh

  23. Olutoye Walrond June 7, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Wow! I could have told you before you wrote this that the hawks would be dipping their pens in acid over your frank commentary.

    Sacred cows should be left alone, even if they walk the street naked.

  24. A'ja Maxwell June 11, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    A well written article! There are many who are determined to accept anything Rihanna does and to follow her blindly simply because she’s famous and making money. In that way they have made her, money and success idols because of the fact that it doesn’t matter if she has to sell her soul. I just pray that she is removed from being an ambassador before she does any further damage and that our eyes are opened before that too.

  25. Shera April 3, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Barbados doesn’t deserve Rihanna. The world wouldn’t care anything about Barbados were it not for her, and this is the sentiment she gets? What kind of homeland is this? Well, America hit the jackpot when Rih fled that hypocritical, self righteously judgmental isle for us. You crabs can keep clawing in that barrel, but she’s on a level your hypocrisy could never reach.


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