BRIDGETOWN, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Barbados declared hit singer Rihanna a national hero at its republican celebrations in her hometown of Bridgetown.

This was the first day of the new Republic of Barbados and its hometown girl was center stage.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that the 33-year-old would be conferred with the honour of National Hero of Barbados to cheers. Rihanna was called up before the crowds to be congratulated by Mottley.

“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your works, by your actions,” Mottley told Rihanna, a reference to her 2012 chart-topping single “Diamonds”.

Rihanna was born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, before moving to the United States after she was discovered by New York-based music producer Evan Rogers.

She has since gone on to become one of the biggest artists in the world, as well as starring in movies including Battleship and Ocean’s 8, and launching her own fashion brand, Fenty, in 2018.

Since 2018, Rihanna has had the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.