On February 28th, Rihanna accepted the Humanitarian of the Year Award at Harvard University.
With a flip of her ponytail and a roaring audience cheering her on, she started her speech with “So I made it to Harvard.”
She continued, “When I was five or six years old, I remember watching TV, and I would see these commercials and I was watching other children suffer from other parts of the world.”
Rihanna told herself that if she were to grow up and become rich, she would help save kids from all over the world.
“I just didn’t know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager,” she says.
At just eighteen years old, Rihanna founded the Believe Foundation to help terminally ill children, and in 2012, she created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program (named after her grandparents), which helps support Caribbean students studying in the United States.
More recently, Rihanna was involved in the construction of a center for oncology and nuclear medicine in Barbados to help diagnose and treat breast cancer.
She also supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, which provides education to children in over 60 developing countries. Apart from that, she has also performed various concerts for charity, and recorded the single “Just Stand Up,” with fifteen other female artists to raise funds for cancer research.
With all of her humanitarian work, it is no wonder she received the prestigious honor.
Photo Credit: PAUL MAROTTA/GETTY IMAGES
She finished her speech with, “The truth is, and what that little girl watching those commercials didn’t know, is that you don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don’t have to be rich to help somebody. You don’t gotta be famous.”
“Today I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person, one organization, one situation that touches your heart. My grandmother always used to say if you got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.”
The audience erupted in applause as the singer left the stage.
Congratulations Rihanna on receiving Harvard University’s Humanitarian of the Year Award!
Watch her full speech below.