Robyn Rihanna Fenty is a Barbadian musician, fashion designer, and humanitarian. With over 190 awards to her name and a net worth of $230 million, she is arguably the most commercially successful Caribbean artist in history.

Rihanna’s status as a cutting edge cultural icon has been reinforced by the recent launch of her much anticipated make up line, Fenty Beauty, a collection whose USP is that it boasts forty shades of foundation, explicitly catering to women whose complexions have been long neglected by the beauty industry.

Image courtesy of Fenty Beauty

"FENTY BEAUTY WAS CREATED FOR EVERYONE: FOR WOMEN OF ALL SHADES, PERSONALITIES, ATTITUDES, CULTURES, AND RACES. I WANTED EVERYONE TO FEEL INCLUDED. THAT'S THE REAL REASON I MADE THIS LINE." - RIHANNA

The announcement of Fenty Beauty was met by much excitement and has already received rave reviews by beauty bloggers and social media pundits alike, leaving most cosmetics brands scrambling to catch up. However, while the release of this line emphasises her entrepreneurial spirit, it, more importantly, demonstrates her commitment to women of colour worldwide.

The Bajan artist has been unwavering in publicly articulating her national and regional belongings. Notably, her Caribbean pride has manifested itself in her humanitarian efforts in the region; she recently built a state-of- the-art centre for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados and in 2012 founded the non-profit Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries. These contributions led to her receiving Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award in 2017.


However, despite these achievements, Rihanna has still been subject to both local and international moral scrutiny. Editors Hilary McD. Beckles and Heather D. Russell look to challenge this with Rihanna: Barbados World Gurl in Popular Culture, published by the University of the West Indies Press. The essays in this pressing collection purposely seek to de-centre the dominance of the Euro-American gaze, focusing instead on considerations of the Caribbean artist and her oeuvre from a Caribbean postcolonial corpus of academic inquiry. To this end, Rihanna: Barbados World Gurl in Global Popular Culture brings together U.S. and Caribbean based scholars to discuss issues of class, gender, sexuality, race, culture, and economy.