Rihanna's Humanitarian of the Year Speech Is Absolutely Worth the Read
Updated March 1 at 6 a.m. PT: Right after hair-flipping the crowd...
Rihanna gave her Humanitarian of the Year speech — and it was truly inspiring. Read an excerpt from the speech below.
"We're all human. And we all just want a chance: a chance at life, a chance in education, a chance at a future, really. And at CLF, our mission is to impact as many lives as possible, but it starts with just one. Just one.
"As I stare out into this beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. I know that each and every one of you has the opportunity to help someone else. All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian.
"People make it seem way too hard, man. The truth is, and what I want the little girl watching those commercials to know, is you don't have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don't have to be rich to help somebody. You don't gotta be famous. You don't even have to be college-educated. I mean, I wish I was, I'm not saying, you know… [Crowd laughs] Especially today. [Laughs] It's true, I might come back, but all right. [Crowd cheers]
"But it starts with your neighbor, the person right next to you, the person sitting next to you in class, the kid down the block in your neighborhood... you just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can. And today, I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person, one organization, one situation that touches your heart. My grandmother always used to say, "If you've got a dollar, there's plenty to share.'"
Who needs to cry for Rihanna's lack of Grammy love when she is getting an award so prestigious, it puts the former to shame? I'm certainly not crying; I'm cheering.
Rihanna will receive the Harvard Humanitarian Award on Feb. 28 at the top-notch American university. Seriously, Anti may have been snubbed by the Grammys (I'm still pretty annoyed about it), but this is a hell of an award and well-deserved too. Rihanna's humanitarian and charity work is extensive and long-running. It's exciting to see her get recognized for her efforts.
While some of us may be curious to see what Rihanna wears or does during the special evening in her honor, it's important to recognize why she is there. If you're a die-hard Rihanna fan, then you may have an sense of Rihanna's charity work. But to the casual fan, you may not have pegged Rihanna as a woman deeply enmeshed in the charity world. From the announcement on the Harvard website, we can get an insight into her work and why exactly she is being honored. "Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados."
The statement goes on to emphasize the nature of Rihanna's important work even further. "She has also created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program [named for her grandmother and grandfather] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, a multiyear campaign that will provide children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today."
Basically, Rihanna is no slouch at all, and we'd all do well to recognize her more frequently, not for the songs she churns out that top the charts, but the work that she does to help make this world a better place. Perhaps it is indicative of Rihanna's softer side that she doesn't seek to broadcast her work for personal gain, though. She has dedicated a part of her life not to cultivating her fame but to making the lives of children, especially young girls, that much better through high-quality health care and education. Could there be any kind of work more noble than that?
Congrats, Rihanna. You definitely deserve this great honor.