Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988), better known as simply Rihanna (pronounced /riˈɑːnə/ ree-YAH-nə or /riˈænə/ ree-AN-ə), is a Barbadian R&B recording artist and songwriter. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for then-label head Jay-Z.
In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single "Pon de Replay." Less than a year later, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), which peaked within the top five of the Billboard albums chart, and produced her first US number one hit single, "SOS", as well as Billboard Hot 100 top ten entries "Unfaithful" and "Break It Off". Rihanna's third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), peaking at number two on the Billboard 200, featured five top ten hits including three US number one hit singles—"Umbrella", "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia"—and the worldwide hit "Don't Stop the Music". The album was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella," which features Jay-Z. Her fourth studio album, Rated R, was released in November 2009, and peaked at number four on the Billboard 200. Its first three singles, "Russian Roulette", "Hard" and "Rude Boy" peaked within the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, with "Rude Boy" peaking at number one. She released her fifth studio album, Loud, in November 2010, that features the US and UK number one singles, "Only Girl (In the World)" and "What's My Name?".
Rihanna has sold more than 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide. She has achieved nine number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 since first appearing on the chart on June 11, 2005, which is the most by any artist during that time span. As of July 23, 2010, Rihanna has sold approximately 5,563,000 album units in the US. Billboard named Rihanna the Digital Songs Artist of the 2000s decade. She sold over 10 millionin the UK. She has received several accolades, including the 2007 World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, as well as the 2008 American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. She serves as one of Barbados's honorary cultural ambassadors. In January 2010, Rihanna received two Grammy Awards for Jay-Z's 2009 single "Run This Town". In February 2011, Rihanna received a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, as well as receiving a Brit Award for Best International Female Solo Artist.
1988–2004: Early life and career beginnings
Rihanna was born in Saint Michael, Barbados on February 20, 1988, to Monica, an accountant, and Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor. Her mother, a native of Guyana, is Afro-Guyanese, and her father is of Barbadian and Irish descent.She is the eldest of three siblings; two younger brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty. She began singing at around the age of seven. Her childhood was deeply affected by her father's addiction to crack cocaine and her parents' rocky marriage, which ended when she was fourteen years old. Rihanna attended Charles F. Broome Memorial School, a primary school in Barbados, and then the Combermere School, where she formed a musical trio with two of her classmates at the age of fifteen. In 2004 she won the Miss Combermere Beauty Pageant. She was an army cadet in a sub-military programme that trained with the military of Barbados and Shontelle was her drill sergeant.
In 2003, friends introduced Rihanna and her two bandmates to record producer Evan Rogers, who was vacationing in Barbados with his wife. The group auditioned for Rogers, who said that "the minute Rihanna walked into the room, it was like the other two girls didn't exist." While auditioning for Rogers, Rihanna sang Destiny's Child's cover of "Emotion". Over the next year, Rihanna and her mom shuttled back and forth to Rogers' home in Stamford, Connecticut. Then, shortly after turning 16, she relocated in the United States and moved in with Rogers and his wife. Carl Sturken helped her record a four-song demo, which included the ballad "Last Time", a cover of Whitney Houston's hit "For the Love of You", and what would become her first hit, "Pon de Replay", to send to various recording companies. It took a year to record the demos, because Rihanna was going to school and would only record during summer and Christmas school breaks. Her demo made its way to Def Jam, which invited her to audition for the label's then-president, Jay-Z, who quickly signed her.
2005–06: Music of the Sun and A Girl Like Me
After signing with Def Jam, she spent the next three months recording and completing her debut album. The album featured production from Evan Rogers, Carl Sturken, Stargate and Poke & Tone. She first collaborated with rapper Memphis Bleek on his fourth studio album 534 before her debut. She released her debut single, "Pon de Replay", on August 22, 2005, which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. It became a global hit where it peaked within the top ten across fifteen countries. Her debut album, Music of the Sun, was released in August 2005 in the United States. The album reached number ten on the Billboard 200, selling 69,000 copies in its first week. The album sold over two million copies worldwide and received a Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America, denoting shipments to US retailers of over 500,000 units.
"Pon de Replay" (2005)
Her music was marketed within the reggae genres because of her Caribbean descent. The album received mixed reviews by music critics. Rolling Stone magazine rated it 2.5 out of 5 stars and described as lacking the replay value, ingenuity and rhythm of the single with "generic vocal hiccups and frills" of US R&B inflecting upon her "Caribbean charm". Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described the album as a "glut of teen R&B chanteuses " and described her lead single "Pon de Replay" as "a dancehall-pop mixture that owes plenty of its sweat and shimmy to Beyoncé's "Baby Boy". A reviewer for Entertainment Weekly commented that the "dancehall/R&B debut is filled with chintzy production and maudlin arrangements that block out the Music of the Sun." The albums second single, "If It's Lovin' that You Want" was less successful than "Pon de Replay", having managed a peak position of number thirty-six in the US, and number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. In Australia, Ireland and New Zealand the single proved to be well-received reaching the top ten in those countries.
A month after the release of her debut album, she began working on her second studio album. The album contained production from record producers Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken who produced most of her debut album, Stargate, J. R. Rotem and label-mate singer-songwriter Ne-Yo. While recording the album, Rihanna served as an opening act for Gwen Stefani to promote her debut album. The lead single, "SOS", peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first number-one in the United States. A Girl Like Me was released in April 2006, less than eight months after her debut. The album reached number five on the Billboard 200 selling 115,000 copies in its first week and has been certified platinum by the RIAA, having shipped over one million units. Internationally, the album peaked at number one on the Top Canadian Albums, five on the UK Albums Chart and number five on the Irish Album Chart. The critical response to the album was mixed; Rolling Stone magazine commented "Like her filler-packed debut album, this similar but superior follow-up doesn't deliver anything else as ingenious as its lead single." Critics described the album as a record that almost identically alternates between the sunny dancehall/dub-pop, hip-hop-infused club bangers and gushy, adult-oriented ballads. The second single, "Unfaithful", became a major worldwide hit, reaching the top ten in dozen countries around the world, including the United States where it reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as topping the charts in Canada, France and Switzerland. The albums third single, "We Ride" failed to reprise the success of the lead single but the fourth single, "Break It Off" featuring Sean Paul, jumped from number fifty-two to number ten eventually peaking at number nine. After the release of the album, Rihanna embarked on her first headlining tour, the Rihanna: Live in Concert Tour. She then embarked on the Rock The Block Tour and then toured with Pussycat Dolls from November 2006 to February 2007 in the United Kingdom.Rihanna also made her acting debut in a cameo role in the straight-to-DVD film Bring It On: All or Nothing, which was released on August 8, 2006.
2007–08: Good Girl Gone Bad
With her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), Rihanna wanted to head in a new direction with the help of music producers Timbaland, will.i.am and Sean Garrett, and re-imagine her album compositions with fresh, uptempo dance tracks. She adopted a more rebellious image while recording the album, eventually dying her hair black and cutting it short. Rihanna commented, "I want to keep people dancing but still be soulful at the same time. You feel different every album, and at this stage I feel like I want to do a lot of uptempo [songs]." The album topped the charts in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Russia and Ireland, and peaked at number two in the United States and Australia. Unlike previous work, the album featured a more dance-pop sound instead of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles. The album received positive reviews by critics, becoming her most critically acclaimed album at that time compared to her previous efforts.
The album yielded eight hit singles — all singles reaching the top twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 — including the worldwide number-one hit "Umbrella," featuring Jay-Z. In addition to reaching number one in various countries, "Umbrella" was the number-one single in the United Kingdom for ten consecutive weeks,making it the longest-running number-one single since Wet Wet Wet's single "Love Is All Around" spent fifteen weeks at the top in 1994. The song is listed number three on the 100 Best Songs of 2007 published by Rolling Stone magazine. Her other singles, "Shut Up and Drive", "Don't Stop The Music" and "Hate That I Love You" were able to mirror the success of "Umbrella," with "Don't Stop the Music" reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 while peaking at number one in various countries. With the re-issue of her third album, titled Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, which was released in June 2008. Rihanna released the first singles from the re-release "Take a Bow" — which became a worldwide number-one hit — the duet with Maroon 5, "If I Never See Your Face Again," and the other US number-one hit "Disturbia." "Disturbia" reached to number four before reaching number one, as her previous single, "Take a Bow", was at number two, making Rihanna the seventh female singer to have two songs in the top five. Meanwhile, Rihanna was featured on rapper T.I.'s "Live Your Life," which peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Rihanna her fifth number-one single on the Hot 100 thus far ("SOS," "Umbrella," "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia," as well as T.I.'s "Live Your Life"). This made Rihanna one of the two female solo artists with the most number-one singles of the decade, with the other being Beyoncé Knowles. It has shipped over two million units in the United States, receiving a two-times-platinum certification from the RIAA; this gave Rihanna her best-selling album to date.
Rihanna was nominated in four categories at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, winning Monster Single of the Year and Video of the Year. At the 2008 Grammy Awards, Rihanna earned her first Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, in addition to receiving five other nominations, including Record of the Year, Best Dance Recording, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group and Best R&B Song. In support of the album, she kicked off her second headlining tour The Good Girl Gone Bad Tour on September 12, 2007, with several shows across the United States, Canada and Europe and then embarked on the Glow in the Dark Tour with Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and N.E.R.D on April 16, 2008. Rihanna won Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist at the 2008 American Music Awards. In December 2008, Margeaux Watson of Entertainment Weekly wrote an article entitled "Rihanna: Diva of the year" which he referred to her breakout success of 2008.
2009-10: Domestic violence case and Rated R
On February 8, 2009, Rihanna's scheduled performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards was cancelled. Reports later surfaced regarding an alleged altercation with then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, who was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats. On March 5, 2009, Brown was charged with assault and making criminal threats. Due to a leaked photograph from the Los Angeles Police Department obtained by TMZ.com—which revealed Rihanna had sustained visible injuries—an organization known as STOParazzi has proposed a law called "Rihanna's Law," which, if enacted, would "deter employees of law enforcement agencies from releasing photos or information that exploits crime victims." Gil Kaufman of VH1 reported "the nonstop coverage of the Rihanna/Brown case has brought up a number of issues regarding the privacy of alleged victims of domestic violence, including the decision by almost all major news outlets to divulge the identity of the victim—which is not typically done in domestic-violence cases" and the controversial distribution of the leaked photograph. Rihanna was subpoenaed to testify during a preliminary hearing in L.A. on June 22, 2009. "The DA told me Rihanna will be subpoenaed. I will accept on her behalf," Rihanna's attorney, Donald Etra told Us Weekly. On June 22, 2009, Brown pled guilty to the felony assault. In exchange for his plea Brown received five years probation and was ordered to stay fifty yards away from Rihanna, unless at public events, which then will be reduced to ten yards.
Rihanna made an appearance as the central character in Kanye West's music video "Paranoid". She also collaborated with Jay-Z and West on "Run This Town" which peaked at number two on Billboard Hot 100 as well as reaching the top ten in ten other countries. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, bringing her total to three Grammys. Her fourth studio album, Rated R, was released in November 2009. Rolling Stone was favorable of the album commenting that "Rihanna has transformed her sound and made one of the best pop records of the year". The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of one million copies. Its first three singles: "Russian Roulette", "Hard" and "Rude Boy" peaked within the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Rude Boy" reaching number-one. The song also topped the charts in Australia, while reaching number two in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland. In January 2010, Rihanna won two Barbados Music Awards for "Song of the Decade" with "Umbrella" and "Entertainer of the Decade". She was named "International Female Artist of the Year" at the 2010 NRJ Music Awards.Two other singles were released from Rated R, which included "Rockstar 101" and the final single from the album, "Te Amo". To further promote the album, she embarked on her worldwide tour, the Last Girl on Earth Tour.
During the summer, Rihanna collaborated with rapper Eminem on "Love the Way You Lie", which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as other countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. The song became Rihanna's seventh number one hit single on the Hot 100 of her career, making her the female artist with the fifth-most number ones in the chart's history. In August, 2010, a wax figure of Rihanna was unveiled in Madame Tussauds in Washington D.C. Rihanna was asked by Kanye West in or around August 2010 to contribute to "All of the Lights", the fifth track from West's fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. In an interview with MTV News, Rihanna stated that she "loved" the song, which also features several other artists, including but not limited to Alicia Keys, John Legend, Fergie and Elton John. On October 19, 2010, Rihanna released a self-titled book, and is currently working on Peter Berg's film, Battleship, scheduled for release in 2012. On October 20, 2010, Rihanna announced that she was parting ways with manager Marc Jordan and will henceforth be managed by Jay-Z's Roc Nation Management. She is also starting her own company, Rihanna Entertainment, in which she will "merge all of her businesses including music, film, fragrance, fashion and book ventures".
Rihanna released her fifth studio album, Loud, on November 16, 2010. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling 207,000 copies in its first week, becoming the fifth top-ten album of Rihanna's career in the US, with her best week of sales.Its lead single, "Only Girl (In the World)", was digitally released in the United States in September 2010. After many weeks, the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. "Only Girl" also reached number one in many other countries including Australia, Canada, and the UK. Later the song won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording at the 53rd Grammy Awards. The album's second single, "What's My Name?", featuring rapper Drake, also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Although it was the second single from Loud, it reached the top spot before the first single, "Only Girl (In the World)" making it the first time in Hot 100 history that an album's debut single reached number one after the second single.
On December 5, 2010, Rihanna had three songs in the top ten on the UK singles chart with "Only Girl (In The World)" at number seven, "What's My Name?" at number eight, and the David Guetta single "Who's That Chick?" at number nine. On January 9, 2011, the same three songs were in the top ten on the UK singles chart with "What's My Name?" at number one, "Only Girl (In The World)" at number nine, and the David Guetta single "Who's That Chick?" at number ten.
On January 9, 2011, "What's My Name?" hit the top spot on the official UK singles chart, giving Rihanna the record of being the first female solo artist to have 5 number one singles in the UK in consecutive years. In 2007, "Umbrella" gave Rihanna her first UK number one single; in 2008, "Take A Bow" gave her her second; in 2009, "Run This Town" was the third; in 2010, "Only Girl (In the World)" gave her her fourth UK number one single.
Rihanna will embark on her fourth concert tour, the Loud Tour, later this year, in support of the album.
On February 20, 2011, the day of her 23rd birthday, she performed on the 2011 NBA All-Star Game halftime show, held at Staples Center, in LA.
Music and voice
Volume 65 of the Contemporary Black Biography book series notes that "Rihanna is the rare rhythm and blues (R&B) diva to emerge from the Caribbean world." Becoming an international sensation, Rihanna is known for blending R&B with Caribbean music, such as reggae and dancehall. Peter Coulter of the Antrim Times commented that "Rihanna has an amazing voice which showed during her acoustic set, she just needs to work on her audience engagement during live shows." At the time of her debut, reviewers referred to her as a "bubblegum queen" and her music to "teen pop." Larry Meyler of The Sun stated that "Rihanna going bad is very good" and that she had "[shaken] off any 'teen pop' image as she rocked the stage." While performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest, Denis Armstrong of Canadian Online Explorer commented on her performance saying "her show was a Disney-esque choreographed fantasy of non-stop hip-swivelling, sassy attitude and personal endearments and a string of funky, sugar-free hits." After revealing a new image while headlining her first tour, she was likely to be criticized for her tight leather outfit during each show. A review in The Times compared Rihanna's stage wardrobe styling to that of Janet Jackson. He described her outfit as "a vision of Ann Summers couture in thigh-high boots and a few scraps of black PVC." Stuart Derdeyn of The Province commented that "even with the whole haute couture B&D clearly firing on all points, she's still got a ways to go to become the new Janet Jackson."
Rihanna's musical style has changed during the release of her last three albums. She was originally marketed as a reggae singer since she burst into the music scene in 2005, with a styles of pop, R&B and dancehall. Her music include various styles of musical genres, including contemporary R&B, dance-pop and the Caribbean music styles of reggae and dancehall.With the release of Music of the Sun and its lead single "Pon de Replay", Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic described Rihanna's musical style as "synthesize Caribbean rhythms and beats with standard-issue urban dance-pop: Caribbean-inflected urban, if you will." Rihanna is described as utilizing "dancehall-lite beats and a reggae vocal cadence." NME describes the singer as a "heady mix of dancehall, reggae and contemporary R&B." Barry Walters of Rolling Stone considers Rihanna's A Girl Like Me to be "lightweight dancehall and R&B jams." After the release of Good Girl Gone Bad, Allmusic's Andy Kellman credits Rihanna to be "as pop as pop gets." Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times described her hit "Umbrella" as a lightweight pop confection with a heavy hip-hop backbeat, a breezy love song enriched by those unexpectedly goth-sounding keyboards and by the incongruous hint of anguish in Rihanna’s girlish voice.
Her debut album featured production from pop veterans Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken who first discovered her. Sturken and Rogers have collaborated with Rihanna many times, including with her debut single "Pon de Replay", which helped launch her career with the tradition of reggae and dance pop and collaborated on her sophomore album. Rihanna then enlisted into the pop and contemporary R&B working with music producer Stargate and singer-songwriter Ne-Yo on "Unfaithful" and sampling the key section, bass line, and drum beat from Soft Cell's 1981 single "Tainted Love" on "SOS". With songs like "Kisses Don't Lie" and "Shut Up and Drive", her music style became more rock-oriented. Unlike Music of the Sun or A Girl Like Me, her third album contained a more dance-pop sound and less of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles of her previous albums. She has included various styles of music from uptempo pop-reggae with "Pon De Replay", to an 80's new wave fueled club banger "SOS" to the whiff of gothic horror in a love song "Unfaithful". Most of her love subject ballads contain a mid-tempo pop sound, with an R&B influences that uses of a gently strummed acoustic guitar with the production of Stargate and the songs written by Ne-Yo. Some of her up-tempo dance-pop songs include production from Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and J. R. Rotem. She has taken to sampling songs from other artist like Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" on "SOS", New Order's "Blue Monday" on "Shut Up and Drive" and '70s original song "Soul Makossa" of Manu Dibango with a part of the chorus from Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" on "Don't Stop the Music".
One of Rihanna's major influences and idols is Mariah Carey. She says, "I looked up to Mariah a lot and I still do. I admire her as an artist, and to [compete with her] was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life. Rihanna also considers Madonna as one of her idols and biggest influences, saying "Madonna has reinvented herself throughout her career and moved into different areas. I want to be the black Madonna." Of Janet Jackson, Rihanna has commented that "she was one of the first female pop icons that I could relate to ... She was so vibrant, she had so much energy. She still has power. I’ve seen her on stage, and she can stand there for 20 minutes and have the whole arena scream at her. You have to love Janet." Beyoncé Knowles has been named as a major influence, citing that she was inspired to start her career after watching Knowles on television as part of a Destiny's Child performance. Her other musical influences include Bob Marley, (for whom she built a shrine in her Los Angeles home) Alicia Keys Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Celine Dion, Brandy and Gwen Stefani. Her friend and former Island Def Jam record label artist Fefe Dobson was someone that she admired and looked up to, having a fellow artist writing, singing, and performing the music she truly loves.
Rihanna's music contains strong influences of caribbean music which include reggae and dancehall. The video for "Rude Boy" was inspired by her Caribbean roots. In an interview, she stated that while growing up in Barbados she grew up listening to reggae music and when she came to the United States she was exposed to many different types of music. During The Good Girl Gone Bad Tour, she did a cover to "Is This Love" which paid tribute to Marley; she would later do a cover song to Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Redemption Song". Rihanna commented that Marilyn Monroe and vintage clothing served for visual inspiration for the music video "Hate That I Love You" and "Rehab"; in contrast, the "dark, creepy" scenes of "Disturbia" have drawn comparison to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The music video ranked number five on the "Top Five Most Paranoid Music Videos" published by MTV Buzzworthy. Jon Bream of the Star Tribune commented "in the tradition of Madonna and Janet Jackson, Rihanna has become the video vixen of the '00s ... Rihanna has perfected the pout, the long-legged strut and trend-setting hairdos that keep women and men alike checking her out on YouTube." George Epaminondas of InStyle considers Rihanna's music videos to be "cinematic" due to her "blend of lush island rhythms and swinging pop and ... mischievous sensuality."
New York magazine described Rihanna's early look as a cookie-cutter teen queen while stating that she has the ability to shift looks so dramatically and with such ease. During the release of her sophomore album, many critics felt that Rihanna's sound and substance was too heavily similar to that of Beyoncé. The media even made negative reviews comparing her music, music videos, performances and even her image to Beyoncé, which garnered Rihanna much criticism.Some media even claimed that Jay-Z fashioned her to be a replica of Beyoncé. Since the release of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, Rihanna's image has become a sex symbol and set herself apart from other R&B starlets, opting for designer couture over belly-baring crop tops. Sonya Magett of Black Voices reported that Rihanna's style has become quite risqué since she burst onto the scene four years ago. Rihanna's fashion and style landed her on the list of People's 10 Best Dressed Stars of 2008. In 2009, she ranked seventeenth on Glamour magazine's list of the 50 Most Glamorous Women. Tracey Lomrantz of Glamour commented, "If style risks could be measured in miles, Rihanna would have criss-crossed the globe a thousand times over already." She has appeared on Maxim's Hot 100 list for three consecutive years, from 2007 to 2009, listed in positions eight, fifteen, and eight, respectively. In June 2007, Rihanna was named 2007 Venus Breeze's "Celebrity Legs Of A Goddess" by Gillette.
Rihanna's tattoos have drawn much media attention. Her tattoos include a music note tattoo on her ankle, a Pisces sign behind her right ear, a Sanskrit prayer going down her hip, a star in her left ear, the word love on her left middle finger, an Arabic phrase meaning "Freedom in Christ" on her ribcage area, a trail of stars going down the back of her neck, a skull with a pink hair bow, the phrase "shhh..." on her right index finger, the date 11.4.86 in Roman numerals on top of her left shoulder, a henna-style dragon claw including hibiscus flowers, a handgun under her right armpit, a six-word phrase on her chest, and the phrase "rebelle fleur" on her neck, said to mean "rebel/rebellious flower" in French. Her gun tattoo was planned to be just below her shoulders but was ultimately located on her ribcage. In answer to criticism for her violence-themed tattoo, Keith "Bang Bang" McCurdy, her tattoo artist, was quick to explain his opinion that the image simply "represents strength and power".Her thirteenth tattoo which she had was on her chest and reads, "Never a failure, always a lesson". She had it tattoed backwards, McCurdy says, because she wanted to be able to read it in the mirror. When he asked why she wanted it, she said that it was her "motto in life for everything".
In October 2005, Rihanna struck her first endorsement deal with Secret Body Spray for them to sponsor her first tour, Rihanna's Secret Body Spray Tour In 2006, Rihanna participated in several endorsement deals, including Nike sportswear for the launch of her "SOS" and J. C. Penney. That same year, she received an endorsement deal from Clinique to promote their Happy fragrance. She recorded a song written by Ne-Yo entitled "Just Be Happy" as part of the deal to promote their Happy fragrance. Rihanna also recorded a song called "Winning Women" with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger for Procter & Gamble's female deodorant Secret. In 2007, Rihanna signed with CoverGirl and became a celebrity spokesperson which included appearances on TV commercials and in the Barbados Tourism Authority's tourism commercials.
In December 2008, Rihanna contracted with Gucci to appear in their ads for the Tattoo Heart Collection, a special-edition line. In the Gucci handbag ad, Rihanna is seen hanging from a giant hoop, scantily clad in a barely-there white bodysuit and wearing an oversized white Gucci purse. The success of her single, "Umbrella" earned her an endorsement deal with Totes. Her handlers pitched her hit "Umbrella" to Totes and the song became the soundtrack for commercials in which she starred. On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Rihanna inked a fragrance deal with Jay-Z’s licensing company Iconic Fragrances. The fragrance is named Reb'l Fleur and was released in 2011. Rihanna was working with her artistic director for Rated R, Simon Henwood, on the book Rihanna. It was released on September 14, 2010. In August 2010 Rihanna began appearing in an Australian television advert for Optus, a position previously held by Pink.
Rihanna created her Believe Foundation in 2006 to help terminally ill children.Rihanna explained her reasons for starting the Foundation saying, "When I was young and I would watch television and I would see all the children suffering, I always said: when I grow up, I want to help." Rihanna is also heavily involved in the marketing of her native country of Barbados. She began by including the flag and broken trident in many of her videos, shooting her album packaging for A Girl Like Me there. In September 2007, she became the official face of tourism for Barbados, being included in many of their ad campaigns. She holds the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.She additionally was honored by the Prime Minister David Thompson, who presented her with several gifts at a national concert on February 20, 2008, in Barbados, called "Rihanna Day". In February 2008, Rihanna thanked and honoured her country during the acceptance speech for her win of "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" at the Grammy Awards. Although Rihanna is heavily involved in the promotion of her country and works with the government in Barbados to do so, she is often criticized by other Barbadians for everything from her music to her successes and for wearing "skimpy clothes". Rihanna, speaking on one incident, said, "I went to the beach and I had on a one-piece swimsuit with jeans They took the picture and they made it look like a top that was really revealing... There were radio programmes about it. It was a big deal for, like, three weeks straight – talking about I'm not setting a good example." Rihanna states she was bullied at school. "Having lighter skin wasn’t a problem in my household, but it was when I went to school — which really confused me at first. The harassment continued to my very last day of elementary school."
Rihanna has performed a number of concerts to raise funds for both charities and the Foundation and is a 2008 Cartier Love Charity Bracelet Ambassador. She performed at Madonna’s Raising Malawi fundraiser on February 6, 2008, in New York City. After becoming an honorary cultural ambassador for Barbados, Rihanna became involved with DKMS, an international donor network based in Tübingen, Germany, to try to find a donor for Lisa Gershowitz Flynn. The Manhattan attorney had been diagnosed in November with acute myelogenous leukemia. In January 2008, Rihanna contributed in the fight against AIDS when she visited the H&M in New York to support Fashion Against AIDS by presenting her t-shirt design and signing autographs for a limited time with slogans like "Believe" and "Stop and Think." The collection features t-shirts and hoodies designed by Rihanna, Timbaland and other well-known designers, musicians and artists. The line, called Fashion Against AIDS, was launched in February 2008 to raise awareness of the disease among teens and spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. In August 2008, Rihanna and other pop, rock, R&B and country singers such as Carrie Underwood, Ciara, Beyoncé Knowles, Leona Lewis, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and Fergie recorded the charity single, "Just Stand Up!", the theme song to the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer and its theme song. The singers performed the song live on September 5, 2008. Rihanna was also selected as the spokesmodel for Gucci’s first United Nations Children's Fund ad campaign. She appeared in the fashion house’s Tattoo Heart campaign, which premiered in December 2008. Rihanna was photographed in series of special edition print ads with United Nations Children's Fund items, twenty-five percent of sales will benefit the children’s charity.
On November 19, 2008, Rihanna was enlisted by Gucci's Frida Giannini along with Madonna to light the United Nations Children's Fund Christmas snowflake in New York City at the Grand Army Plaza. In 2008, she became the global representative and the face of the 4th annual Gucci Campaign to Benefit United Nations Children's Fund. The campaign aimed to raise funds for children in Africa through the sale of its Tattoo Heart collection of bags, which launched worldwide on November 19, 2008. Rihanna has been a part of many benefit concerts to help raise money for various illnesses, such as cancer for Hope Rocks. Rihanna performed on January 20, 2009, at the Recording Industry Association of America's Presidential Inauguration Charity Ball to raise money for the world largest anti-hunger organization. On April 2, 2009, Rihanna visited the NYU Medical Center to help look for another bone marrow donor for a young girl named Jasmina Anema. Rihanna first learned about Anema's plight in February 2009, when she saw the moving video Anema's best friend, Isabelle Huurman, and her mother, Karen Detrick, made appealing for donors to save Anema.Rihanna honored Anema's best friend, Isabella, for her efforts for trying to save her best friend at a DKMS Gala on May 7, 2009. Jasmina Anema eventually received her transplant on June 11, 2009,but died on January 27, 2010. In September 2009, Rihanna performed at Jay-Z's "Answer to Call" concert, which paid tribute to the police officers and firefighters who died on the September 11 attacks. In February 2011, Rihanna was scheduled to perform at a charity concert for the Women's Cancer Research Fund, but was forced to pull out at the last minute, due to bronchitis.