Skip to main content
Select Source:

Rihanna

Rihanna

1988—

Singer

Rihanna is the rare rhythm and blues (R&B) diva to emerge from the Caribbean world. Though she had made two previous albums, the Barbadian singer debuted a glamorous new look in the spring of 2007 as her latest single, "Umbrella," began to climb the charts. By late summer "Umbrella" was on the verge of becoming the most successful single of the entire year. Craig McLean, a writer for the Daily Telegraph, called it "a brilliant pop song, propulsive and sinuous…. Already it is feeling like a defining song of 2007."

Born on February 20, 1988, as Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Rihanna grew up in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. Her father, Ronald, was a native of the island, and her mother, Monica, was originally from Guyana, a nation on the northeastern coastline of South America. Along with two younger brothers, Rihanna saw her parents' marriage suffer because of the crack-cocaine addition her father developed. "I knew that my mom and dad would argue when there was foil paper with an ashtray," Rihanna recalled in an interview with Grant Rollings for the Sun, a British tabloid. "He would just go into the bathroom all the time. I didn't know what it was."

Monica struggled to support her family by work in the financial-services industry, but Rihanna was fortunate to attend one of the top schools in Barbados, the Combermere School, founded in 1695. She loved to sing at an early age and formed a teen group, called Contrast, with some friends. In 2004, the year she turned sixteen, she won the title of Miss Combermere, though she had been a self-confessed tomboy who cared little about makeup or clothes until that point. Her break into show business came when producer/songwriter Evan Rogers came to Barbados for a vacation with his wife; the mother of a friend of Rihanna's knew Rogers's wife from their school days together, and the mother arranged an introduction. Rogers and his business partner, Carl Sturken, were responsible for making stars out of Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, N'Sync, and several other top pop acts. Rihanna sang for Evans one of her favorite songs, Mariah Carey's "Hero," followed by the Destiny's Child's track "Emotions." He was impressed enough to sign her to his company, Syndicated Rhythm Productions (SRP), and arrange for her to come to New York City to cut a demo record. Rogers and his wife assured Monica Fenty that Rihanna would stay at their home and would be watched over as if she was their own daughter.

The next stop on Rihanna's path to stardom came after SRP contacted Jay-Z, the rapper turned mogul who cofounded Roc-A-Feller Records and who had recently become president and chief executive officer of Def Jam Records. Rihanna was invited to audition in person for Jay-Z in his office, "and that's when I really got nervous," she told Sylvia Patterson in the London Observer. "I was like: ‘Oh God, he's right there, I can't look, I can't look, I can't look!’ I remember being extremely quiet. I was very shy. I was cold the entire time. I had butterflies." The tryout was a success, however, and she was signed to Def Jam, which released her debut album, Music of the Sun, in August of 2005. Capitalizing on her West Indian roots, the label positioned the teen as a fresh new voice that merged rap and Caribbean rhythms, which were showcased in the first single released from the album, "Pon de Replay," a dancehall reggae that peaked at number two on the U.S. and British charts.

Subsequent singles from Music of the Sun were less successful, but Rihanna's enticing good looks—statuesque and with green eyes—helped her land lucrative endorsement contracts with Nike, Clinique, and J. C. Penney that opened the door to unique cross-marketing deals. In April of 2006 her second album, A Girl Like Me, was released, and its first single, "SOS," reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart thanks to a tie-in with Nike. Another release further blurred the line between art and commerce: "Just Be Happy," a song written for her by African-American/Chinese-American rapper Ne-Yo, was available only on her Web site as a part of a special promotional campaign with Clinique and its fragrance, Happy.

Both Ne-Yo and Jay-Z appeared on Rihanna's third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, which was released in June of 2007. Its first single was "Umbrella" and had already caused a stir that spring for marking the debut of a new, more grown-up look for the singer. The song wound up spending ten weeks at the number-one spot on the British charts, the longest run for a female artist there since Whitney Houston more than a decade earlier. It also reached number one on the U.S. and European charts, it won MTV's Monster Single of the Year Video honors in September, and its lavishly produced video won Video of the Year at the same ceremony. For part of it, a nude Rihanna was coated in silver paint and then filmed inside a special black box. "The body paint was really oily," she told Elizabeth Sanchez in Men's Fitness about the experience. "I couldn't wait to get it off my face. That was the worst part about it—getting it off. I was in the shower for two and a half hours!… Days after, I still had some in my hair, ears, even my belly button."

Good Girl Gone Bad sold well and secured Rihanna's place as a new R&B/pop powerhouse. "The title of the album represents my liberation," she told Sanchez. "Being able to break out of the innocent image I was forced into. Now I'm just being me." World-famous before she was twenty years old, the singer has been romantically linked to musicians Omarion, Chris Brown, and Justin Timberlake, along with actors Shia LaBeouf and Josh Hartnett. She lives in Los Angeles, and she admitted to Patterson that fame had its drawbacks. "With success has come a lotta great stuff, but there's cons, too," she reflected. "Who to trust is a huge one. I always have to keep my guard up. A lot. I'm dealing with fake people. All the time. So I just keep my guard up."

At a Glance …

Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988, in Bridgetown, St. Michael's Parish, Barbados; daughter of Ronald and Monica Fenty.

Career: Signed to Syndicated Rhythm Productions, c. 2004; signed with Def Jam Records; made television acting debut in Las Vegas, 2005; has endorsement deals with Nike, J. C. Penney, Clinique, and CoverGirl.

Awards: Monster Single of the Year and Video of the Year, MTV Music Video Awards, both 2007, for "Umbrella."

Addresses: Agent—Glenn Gulino, William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.

Selected discography

Albums

Music of the Sun, Def Jam, 2005.

A Girl Like Me, Def Jam, 2006.

Good Girl Gone Bad, Def Jam, 2007.

Singles

"Pon de Replay," 2005.

"SOS," 2006.

"Unfaithful," 2006.

"Umbrella," 2007.

"Don't Stop the Music," 2007.

Sources

Periodicals

Daily Telegraph (London, England), May 31, 2007.

Men's Fitness, August 2007.

New York Times, June 4, 2007.

Observer (London, England), August 26, 2007.

Sun (London, England), June 15, 2007.

Times (London, England), January 6, 2007.

—Carol Brennan

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rihanna." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Rihanna." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 12, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/rihanna-0

"Rihanna." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved November 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/rihanna-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Rihanna

Rihanna

Singer

Some people seem to have all the luck. And then there are those fortunate few who not only have all the luck, but the talent to go along with it. Rising dance-pop diva Rihanna has both luck and talent, and she stands poised to reign supreme on the pop charts. Back-to-back summer hits "Pon de Replay" (2005) and "S.O.S." (2006) catapulted her from a young singer in Barbados to worldwide star status, and her fusion of R&B, hip hop, and reggae have helped her stand out among other pop stars.

Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Rihanna grew up in the parish of St. Michael on the island of Barbados. Although she is living out her dream now as a professional singer, Rihanna did not ever imagine she would hear her songs on the radio. She revealed in a Boston Globe profile, "I would sing in the mirror, holding a brush to my mouth like it was a microphone." And even though the neighbors would complain about her loud singing, she kept at it. Without any professional singing experience, her first standout moment occurred when she was in high school and won a talent contest singing Mariah Carey's "Hero." Along with Carey, Rihanna counts Whitney Houston and Beyoncé as her musical idols.

In December of 2003, while still a high school student, Rihanna was introduced to producer Evan Rogers through a mutual friend. Rogers, who had worked with Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Ruben Studdar, and Kelly Clarkson, was on vacation with his wife, Jackie, a native of Barbados, when he heard Rihanna sing. Rogers was impressed, and flew her to New York to record a demo. Over the next year Rihanna worked on her demo with Rogers and his partner Carl Sturken, who ran Syndicated Rhythm Productions. They began circulating the demo, which included the single "Pon de Replay." Def Jam label president and CEO Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, was the first and last label exec to get a sit-down with Rihanna. After an impressive audition at Jay-Z's office, Executive Vice President Jay Brown recalled in the Globe, "I wanted an artist who could be developed. When I knew she could sing, I knew I could work with her." After cancelling a set of meetings with other labels, Rihanna, who was only 16 years old, literally signed with Def Jam on the spot, with lawyers completing the contract by 3:00 A.M.

Shortly after signing with Def Jam, Rihanna's career kicked into overdrive and by May of 2005 she had released her first single, "Pon de Replay." It didn't take long for the infectious rhythms of this breakout summer hit to top the charts and score as a huge dancehall hit. Shortly after its release, Sirius Satellite Radio Hip Hop musical director Geronimo predicted that "Pon de Replay" would become the summer's big hit. In fact, only Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" beat out "Pon de Replay" for the number one spot on Billboard's chart.

When her first CD, Music of the Sun, came out in August it debuted at number ten on the charts. Amid an avalanche of pop CDs, Music of the Sun managed to earn respectable praise for Rihanna's "above-average" singing. Rolling Stone critic Jason Birchmeier noted, "As with most albums of this ilk, Music of the Sun descends into faceless slow jams after a while … but thankfully it picks up the pace toward the end of its 13-song run and concludes on a fun note, with a remix of "Pon de Replay" featuring Elephant Man. The result is one of the more engaging urban dance-pop albums of the year."

In 2005 Rihanna took to the road with Gwen Stefani, where she was schooled in rock, an influence that appeared on her 2006 CD A Girl Like Me on the track "Kisses Don't Lie," which blends a rock beat with Caribbean rhythms. On her website Rihanna noted, "Coming from Barbados, I really hadn't heard that much rock music. Touring with Gwen changes my perspective. So, when I was discussing this project with L.A. Reid, Chairman of Island Def Jam Records, I made sure to say I want to experiment with some rock." The album, which was executive produced by Jay-Z, is pure pop, with two runaway hits, "S.O.S" and "Unfaithful." Most critics have credited Rihanna with avoiding a sophomore slump through clever and ambitious songs that continue to show the singer's promise. Although still only 18 years old, Rihanna shows maturity, both in her personal life and in her music. She told London Guardian reporter Amina Taylor, "My mom raised me to be a child and know my place but also to think like a woman…. So fortunately I am very mature for my age. In this business you have to work with the things that get thrown your way…. I don't feel under any additional pressure being young. Starting early means I get a chance to grow as a person and as an artist."

Selected discography

Albums

Music of the Sun, Island Def Jam, 2005; rereleased with bonus track, Universal/Mercury, 2005.
A Girl Like Me, Def Jam, 2006.

For the Record …

Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 18, 1988, in St. Michael, Barbados.

Met producer Evan Rogers, 2003; made demo tape and signed with Def Jam, 2004; released single "Pon de Relay," 2005; released first CD, Music of the Sun, 2005; toured with Gwen Stefani, 2005; released hit singles "S.O.S.," 2006, and "Unfaithful," 2006; released second CD, A Girl Like Me, 2006; signed endorsement contracts with Nike and JC Penney, 2006.

Awards: MTV Video Award, Best New Artist Video, 2006; MuchMusic Video Award, Best International Video, 2006.

Addresses: Record company—Def Jam, Worldwide Plaza, 825 8th Ave., 28th Fl., New York, NY 10019. Website—Rihanna Official Website: http://www.rihanna.defjam.com.

Sources

Periodicals

Boston Globe, July 19, 2005; May 5, 2006.

Chicago Tribune, November 15, 2005.

Guardian (London, England), November 25, 2005.

Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2006.

New York Times, September 5, 2005; April 24, 2006.

Rolling Stone, August 18, 2005; September 8, 2005; May 26, 2006.

U.S.A. Today, August 2, 2005.

Washington Post, April 26, 2006.

Online

"Rihanna," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (June 4, 2006).

Rihanna Official Website, http://www.rihanna.defjam.com (June 24, 2006).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rihanna." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Rihanna." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 12, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/rihanna

"Rihanna." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved November 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/rihanna

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Rihanna

Rihanna

Career
Sidelights
Selected Recordings
Sources

Singer

B orn Robyn Rihanna Fenty, February 20, 1988, in St. Michael’s Parish, Barbados; daughter of Ronald (a warehouse supervisor) and Monica (an accountant and boutique owner) Fenty.

Addresses: Contact—Def Jam Recordings, 825 8th Ave., New York, NY 10019. Home—LosAngeles, CA.

Career

S igned with Def Jam Recordings, c. 2004; released first album, Music of the Sun, 2005; made first film appearance, a cameo in Bring It On: All or Nothing, 2006; released second album, A Girl Like Me, 2006; released third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, 2007.

Awards: Female breakout artist and choice R&B artist, Teen Choice Awards, 2006; female artist of the year, female Hot 100 artist of the year, and pop 100 artist of the year, Billboard Music Awards, 2006; best R&B artist, MTV Europe Music Awards, 2006; best new artist, song of the year for “Pon de Replay,” best dance single for “Pon de Replay,” album of the year for Music of the Sun, entertainer of the year, Barbados Music Awards, 2006; best new video artist, MTV Video Music Awards Japan, 2006; album of the year for A Girl Like Me, best entertainer of the year, best female entertainer of the year, best selling recording artist, Barbados Music Awards, 2007; top 25 entertainers of the year, Entertainment Weekly, 2007; favorite female artist, soul/R&B, American Music Awards, 2007; bestselling pop female artist, world’s bestselling R&B artist, World Music Awards, 2007; monster single of the year, for “Umbrella” with Jay-Z, MTV Video Music Awards, 2007; soul video of the year, VH1, 2007; pop/R&B artist of the year, best pop/R&B single for “Don’t Stop the Music,” best female music video for “Shut Up and Drive,” song of the year for “Umbrella,” album of the year for Good Girl Gone Bad, female entertainer of the year, people’s choice entertainer of the year, Barbados Music Awards, 2008; Grammy Award for best rap/sung collaboration, Recording Academy, for “Umbrella,” shared with Jay-Z, 2008; favorite R&B song, for “Shut up and Drive,” People’s Choice Awards, 2008.

Sidelights

B arbados-born songstress Rihanna hit the air-waves in 2005 with her debut album, Music of the Sun, which spawned the reggae-tinged dance-hall hit “Pon de Replay.” Some industry insiders dismissed her as a one-hit wonder, but Rihanna proved them wrong. Her second album, released eight months after the first, included the No. 1 hit “S.O.S.” In 2007, she followed with the hit single “Umbrella,” which spent seven weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and a record-setting ten weeks atop the United Kingdom (U.K.) singles charts. Rihanna went on to win a Grammy for the song, making her the first woman from Barbados to earn such an honor. Having released three albums and a handful of top 10 hits by the age of 19, Rihanna has proved she is well on her way to becoming the new reigning diva of R&B.

Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988, in St. Michael’s Parish, Barbados. Her mother, Monica, hails from Guyana and is an accountant-turned-boutique owner. Her father, Ronald, is a Barbadian and has worked as a warehouse supervisor. Growing up, Rihanna watched her father struggle with addiction as he battled crack, marijuana, and alcohol. Her parents were separated for long periods of time and finally divorced when Rihanna was a teen. “My mom would take us to see him, and he would be in the worst condition,” Rihanna told Allure’s Brooke Hauser. “She stopped taking us because she didn’t want us to see him like that.” Rihanna’s mother worked long hours to support the family, leaving Rihanna, the oldest, in charge of the household and responsible for her brothers Rajad and Rorrey. Rihanna’s father has since beaten his addictions and has accompanied Rihanna on tour.

Rihanna has been singing nearly all of her life. As a child she honed her skills in the shower, crooning Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion ballads from the steamy comfort of the bathroom. Rihanna sang so loud and enthusiastically that the neighbors complained. By her early teens, Rihanna had joined an all-girl music group. “Growing up, I always sang,” Rihanna told Derek Paiva, an entertainment writer for the Honolulu Advertiser. “But no one ever was really pushing me to do it. It was something that I wanted to do. So I developed a personal passion for it, fell in love with music, and developed my own taste and style.” Rihanna won a high school talent show with a rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Hero.”

These days, Rihanna enjoys dressing like a sleek and sexy model. She is also a spokeswoman for CoverGirl cosmetics. Growing up, though, she described herself as a tomboy. With 13 male cousins and two younger brothers, Rihanna and a lone female cousin worked hard to be accepted among the boys, who continually tried to run them off. “We wanted to do what they did,” Rihanna told the Advertiser. “We wanted to climb trees. We wanted to fight. We wanted to catch animals . We had to defend ourselves a lot!”

Rihanna had trouble at school, where kids shunned her and teased her because her brown skin was lighter than theirs. Rihanna inherited a lighter, West Indian complexion from her Barbadian father—she also has a set of glass-green eyes. “People hated me because I’m fair in complexion,” she told Entertainment Weekly’s Margeaux Watson. “I had to develop a thick skin because they would call me white.”

Rihanna’s career enjoyed a jump start in 2003 when a friend helped orchestrate a meeting with U.S. songwriter and producer Evan Rogers, who was vacationing in Barbados. Rogers has worked with such stars as Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Donny Osmond. After hearing about Rihanna, Rogers summoned her to come sing in his hotel room. She chose to perform the Destiny’s Child’s hit “Emotion.” Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Rogers described how Rihanna captured his attention the moment she walked into the room. “She carried herself like a star even when she was 15. But the killer was when she opened her mouth to sing. She was a little rough around the edges, but she had this edge to her voice.” Impressed, Rogers invited Rihanna to fly to the United States to make a demo with him.

They recorded a four-track demo, which included a version of “Pon de Replay.” Rogers distributed the demo and it fell into the hands of Jay-Z, head of Def Jam Recordings. After hearing the demo, Jay-Z called Rihanna in Barbados and summoned her for an audition. After arriving in the United States, Rihanna went into Jay-Z’s office and belted out a few tunes a cappella. Within 12 hours, she had signed a deal with the label.

Soon, Rihanna began working on her first album, which was produced by Rogers and his longtime business partner Carl Sturken. In August of 2005, 17year-old Rihanna released Music of the Sun, which featured a set of strong dance tunes highlighting her vocals. The album peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, buoyed by the success of the hypnotically catchy dance tune “Pon de Replay,” the first single Rihanna released. “Pon de Replay” spent 27 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peak-ing at No. 2. Speaking to the Honolulu Advertiser, Rihanna noted that she initially shied away from recording the song. “I thought it sounded like a nursery rhyme,” she said. “It didn’t sound like singing.” Rihanna said it was such a different style she was not immediately drawn to it, but once she started recording she realized the song had an incredible vibe.

In April of 2006—just eight months after the release of her debut album—Rihanna rolled out a second, titled AGirl Like Me. The album included the electro-funk breakout hit “S.O.S.,” which topped both the U.S. and Australian charts. The song borrowed the drum beat, bass line, and synthesizer loop from the 1980s hit “Tainted Love.” Christina Milian was supposed to record the song, but she turned it down because she thought the song had too much of a pop flare for a true R&B singer; however, Rihanna liked the song, particularly because it expressed more mature emotions than she had explored in her previous album. “‘S.O.S.’ talks about being rescued from a crazy feeling, calling out for help,” Rihanna told Jet. “You know like when you have a huge crush on a guy, come rescue me from feeling this crazy.”

The album also included a slow, piano-driven ballad, “Unfaithful,” which hit No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following the album’s release, Rihanna embarked on a promotional tour through the United States, Europe, and Canada. The album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200, was certified platinum and earned Rihanna a bevy of awards in 2006, including female artist of the year at the Billboard Music Awards.

True to form, Rihanna did not take much of a break between albums and in June of 2007 released a third, Good Girl Gone Bad. Speaking to Margeaux Watson of EW.com, Rihanna said that she inherited a strong work ethic from her mother, whom she described as a workaholic: “If she took a week off from work, she got so miserable at home.” Rihanna said that she is the same way—she gets antsy whenever she has free time. “When I take a break I get really fidg-ety and restless and I wanna get back to work . But also, I am very passionate about what I do. I love making music. I love the process of it. And every time, I like to switch it up a little bit and make it different.”

For certain, Good Girl Gone Bad makes a departure from the youthful, party-girl innocence articulated on her first two albums. Rihanna was quite young when the first two albums came out and she relied on Rogers and Def Jam executives to make most of the decisions. With this third album, Rihanna took more ownership and sought to leave her innocent, good-girl image behind. Rihanna recorded more adult-themed songs and reworked her image in an effort to separate herself from the pack. The night before the photo shoot for the cover of Good Girl Gone Bad, Rihanna persuaded her hairstylist to come to her LosAngeles hotel room and chop off her long, brown locks to create a blunt, inverted bob, which she dyed jet black.

The changes went beyond looks. For this album, Rihanna tapped a large number of established producers and songwriters. Justin Timberlake and Ne-Yo earned songwriting credits, while Timbaland, Stargate, and Christopher “Tricky” Stewart all earned producer credits, along with Rogers and Sturken. The album’s lead single, “Umbrella,” features Jay-Z on accompanying vocals. The song simultaneously topped the Hot 100, Pop 100, and Hot Digital Songs charts. In sum, more than 2.2 million music listeners have downloaded the song, which set a record for digital downloads in a debut week. The song—about the strength of enduring relationships—was a hit around the globe, spending 595 weeks on 20 different charts. During the 17th week of 2007, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed upon charts around the world, exiting after the 22nd week of 2008 when it sat atop the Germany Singles Top 100 before slipping off the charts. The single received rave reviews in Europe. It topped the U.K. singles charts for ten consecutive weeks, making it the longest-running U.K. chart-topper of the 21st century. The album included several other hits, such as “Shut Up and Drive,” “Hate That I Love You,” and “Take a Bow,” the latter of which topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Despite Rihanna’s string of successes, she did not realize her stardom potential until after “Umbrella” created such a buzz. “It really overwhelmed me when ‘Umbrella’ was No. 1 for so many weeks all over the world, not only in America, and broke records and made history,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “‘Umbrella’ just went way ahead of me and where my mind was a lot quicker and earlier than I expected it to.” Rihanna went on to win a Grammy for the song.

Jay-Z told Entertainment Weekly that he was thrilled with Rihanna’s third album and the control she exerted over its creation. “She’s found her voice. That’s the best thing for any label—to have an artist step in and take control of their own career. She’s left the nest.”

With two platinum albums under her belt, Rihanna has traveled a long way from her working-class island origins. As her star continues to rise, advertisers are knocking on her door, hoping to sign her for promotions. Rihanna became the spokeswoman for Gillette’s Venus Breeze razors, with Gillette insuring her legs for $1 million. In addition, she has a partnership with CoverGirl. When Good Girl Gone Bad was released, the first 800,000 copies included coupons for Wetslicks Fruit Spritzers.

When Rihanna is not busy working, the tattooed beauty enjoys playing Guitar Hero on her Xbox. Rihanna has a set of tiny star tattoos on her neck, a treble clef on her ankle, and a Sanskrit prayer on her hip. Among her circle of friends, Rihanna is known as the mischievous prankster. One favorite trick includes squeezing lemon juice into friends’ mouths as they sleep. Most friends still call her Ro-byn, the name she used while growing up.

As for the future, Rihanna hopes to break into film. She made a cameo in 2006’s Bring It On: All or Nothing. Whether that happens or not, Rihanna is sure that a bright future awaits her. She said she believes her success is due to becoming more comfortable with expressing her true self. “Some people never figure themselves out, and that’s sad,” she told Cosmopolitan’s Monica Corcoran. “I’m still learning who I am, but I’m not scared to be myself anymore.”

Selected Recordings

Albums

Music of the Sun, Def Jam, 2005.

A Girl Like Me, Def Jam, 2006.

Good Girl Gone Bad, Def Jam, 2007.

Singles

“If It’s Lovin’ That You Want,” Def Jam, 2005.

“Pon de Replay,” Def Jam, 2005.

“S.O.S.,” Def Jam, 2006.

“Unfaithful,” Def Jam, 2006.

“Don’t Stop the Music,” Def Jam, 2007.

“Hate That I Love You,” Def Jam, 2007.

“Shut Up and Drive,” Def Jam, 2007. (Featuring Jay-Z) “Umbrella,” Def Jam, 2007.

“Take A Bow,” Def Jam, 2008.

Sources

Periodicals

Allure, January 1, 2008, p. 146.

Billboard, May 12, 2007, pp. 24-27.

Cosmopolitan, March 2008, pp. 46-49.

Entertainment Weekly, June 29, 2007, pp. 81-83; November 30, 2007, pp. 82-83.

Jet, May 22, 2006, p. 35.

Music Week, July 28, 2007, p. 4.

Online

“Caribbean Queen,” Entertainment Weekly,http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20043298.tif,00.html (May 9, 2008).

“18 Things You Need to Know About Rihanna,” Honolulu Advertiser,http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Sep/15/en/FP60915030.tif3.html (April 13, 2008).

“Rihanna Has Her Day in the Sun,” USA Today,http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2005-08-01-otv-rihanna_x.htm (May 18, 2008).

—Lisa Frick

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rihanna." Newsmakers 2008 Cumulation. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Rihanna." Newsmakers 2008 Cumulation. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 12, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/journals/culture-magazines/rihanna

"Rihanna." Newsmakers 2008 Cumulation. . Retrieved November 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/journals/culture-magazines/rihanna

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.