Rihanna: musical superstar, businesswoman, and Barbados’ first billionaire

Rihanna, who earlier this year was declared Barbados’ first billionaire by Forbes, reinvented herself from pop superstar to a business mastermind.

But the singer has made a triumphant return to the music scene this week, with the release of a new single Lift Me Up, recorded for the upcoming Black Panther movie sequel.

It marks her first new music since the 2016 release of her eighth studio album Anti.

Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 1988 and moved to the US in 2005 to pursue a career in music.

The MET Gala 2018 – New York

She signed with Jay-Z’s Def Jam Recordings after the rapper had been impressed with her song Pon De Replay, which became the lead track from her debut album, Music Of The Sun.

The single reached number two in the UK charts, while the album sold more than two million copies around the world.

MTV’s TRL – Total Request Live-show – Leicester Square

Rihanna followed it up with 2006’s A Girl Like Me, which spawned the successful singles SOS, Unfaithful and Break It Off.

Her status as a pop superstar was cemented a year later with the release of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad.

A global hit, it reached number one in the UK album charts thanks to the singles Don’t Stop The Music, Shut Up And Drive, and Umbrella.

The latter was jokingly blamed for 2007’s exceptionally rainy summer.

A performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards was cancelled amid rumours her boyfriend, the R&B singer Chris Brown, had assaulted her.

Wireless Festival – Crystal Palace Park

A now-infamous picture was leaked to the US showbiz website TMZ, showing Rihanna with a visibly bruised and swollen face.

Brown was later sentenced to five years’ probation. The pair briefly got back together, with Rihanna confirming they were seeing each other in January 2013.

Her first album after the 2009 Brown controversy, Rated R, marked a musical departure for the singer, moving away from her pop-heavy previous efforts.

It contained the singles Rude Boy and Te Amo. Rihanna has since released four studio albums, the last of which was 2016’s Anti.

In 2017, she began a relationship with Saudi businessman Hassan Jameel, though they later split in 2020 and she reportedly took up with US rapper ASAP Rocky.

The Fashion Awards 2019 – London

Until recently Rihanna and Rocky were only pictured publicly a handful of times, including last year’s Met Gala in which they appeared wearing coordinating outfits.

But the couple announced in early 2022 that they were expecting their first child, with the singer sharing a picture of her baby bump on Instagram.

They welcomed the child, a boy, in May 2022, in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile her prowess as a businesswoman and entrepreneur has continued to grow.

She is also behind a lingerie brand, Fenty X Savage which raised a valuation of one billion dollars (£765 million) in February 2021.

Rihanna is also an actress and appeared in 2018 heist film Ocean’s 8, as part of a female-led ensemble cast including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway.

Her new musical release, Lift Me Up, comes ahead of her performance at the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show.

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