By Dana Niland
Music superstar Rihanna has long had a deep relationship with her native Barbados, but the island has now taken another step to honor her contributions to the country.
This weekend, Barbados officially renamed Westbury New Road to Rihanna Drive.
Rihanna arrived for the opening ceremony on Westbury New Road in a “bright yellow ensemble,” to cheers and applause from a welcoming crowd.
Seated next to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, she was surrounded by government officials, friends and family.
The two-hour ceremony was marked with tributes to the Grammy-award winning singer, and included performances from the neighboring Westbury Primary School and other Barbadians.
During her address, Rihanna reminisced about her days growing up on Westbury New Road, and attributed her success to the residents who all played a part in her upbringing.
“Welcome to Rihanna Drive — my home,” she said. “My whole life was shaped on this very road. I was just a little girl riding bikes, running around barefoot, and flying kites in the cemetery, but I had big dreams. Dreams that were born and realized right here.”
“Thank you to my family, my country and the people of Westbury New Road,” she continued. You will forever be a part of who I am, and for that I am honored to have this place named after me.”
The ceremony culminated with the unveiling of the Rihanna Drive street sign, as well as a monument which was constructed to display many of the business mogul’s achievements to date.
Lastly, Rihanna and the Prime Minister strolled to her childhood home to view the sidewalk plaque which was also created to celebrate the star.