“So I made it to Harvard,” Rihanna giggled as she accepted the university's 2017 Humanitarian of the Year award yesterday at Sanders Theatre. She continued, flipping her hair with a sassy grin, “Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life, but it feels good.”
Harvard University presented the award to the “Love on the Brain” singer for her dedication to promoting health and education in her home country of Barbados. The pop star started the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program in order to help students in the Caribbean attend schools in the United States. She also built an oncology and nuclear medicine center at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados.
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In her speech, Rihanna spoke about watching commercials as a kid — the ones that ask for a mere 25 cents to help children in need get basic essentials. "I would say to myself, 'When I grow up, and I can get rich, I'm gonna save kids all over the world,'" she recalled. "I just didn't know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager."
Rihanna looked to the audience: “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.”
She clarified, “You don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don’t have to be rich to help somebody.”
Everyone has the ability to commit to helping at least one person, regardless of fame or money. “My grandma always used to say, ‘If you got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.’”
In other words, “Work, work, work, work, work, work,” and go help a neighbor in need.
The full stream of her speech can be seen below — RiRi starts around an hour and 14 minutes in.