Rihanna shines and puts spotlight on Barbados
It was a night of fulfilled dreams for Barbadian songstress Rihanna who walked away from the 2016 Video Music Awards (VMAs) with the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. And through it all, she did not forget her home country.
The 28-year old starlet opened last night’s show at Madison Square Garden with an upbeat medley of her greatest hits, including Please Don’t Stop the Music, Only Girl, We Found Love and Where Have You Been. It was the first of four performances all leading up to her unforgettable moment.
Her stellar mash-up of hit singles featured Rude Boy, Work, Pour it Up and Needed Me, portrayed in a Caribbean-spiced dancehall number, followed by a sultry performance. In her final performance, just before she became the 31st recipient of what is also known as the Lifetime Achievement Award, Rihanna shined like the star she is, singing Stay, Diamonds and Love on the Brain.
She was presented with the prestigious Moonman, previously awarded to big names like Madonna, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson, by Canadian rapper Drake with whom she has collaborated on several chart toppers.
“This woman has surpassed all competition while still being the same girl from Barbados,” Drake said in his introductory speech, complimenting the star for always being herself.
On accepting the award, a smiling Rihanna showed her love for Barbados.
“When I think about the Vanguard Award and receiving this tonight, all I could think of was my country. They’re going to be so proud. This is the first Vanguard to land anywhere close to my country,” she said.
“My success started as my dream, but now my success is not my own. It’s my family’s, it’s my fans’, it’s my country’s, it’s the Caribbean’s as a whole, it’s women’s, it’s black women’s.”
Rihanna is now the second youngest recipient of the award, after Janet Jackson who won it at age 24. She also has four VMAs and is still the only solo female to win two Video of the Year Awards.