Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Rihanna: A Caribbean Cinderella
Robyn Rihanna Fenty where do I begin? I certainly do not want this blog to read like some fact-sheet. No, I definitely don't. So I've got to consider how best to pile it all on (or should that be in) without it being all boring. Why? Because Rihanna is anything but boring; that's why.
Her story reads like that of Cinderella but with a Caribbean flavor. Well, she wasn't scouring floors, toiling over ceiling high piles of dishes and the like (at least not to my knowledge) but you know what I mean right.
This 20 year old was born and grew up in Barbados. Her dad is Barbadian or more commonly known as Bajan and her mom is Guyanese. She lived a relatively normal island life; going to school, entering beauty pageants, winning said pageants, forming a trio and performing with two of her other classmates while in school, doing the things that girls her age normally do, drinking coconut water under a shade tree, sipping on umbrella drinks (ok, ok, I'm just now throwing things in - just felt right; couldn't help myself).
When one day back in 2003 at the age of 15, her Fairy Godfather came. Oh heck, bear with me and let me tell this story my way ok. And no he wasn't riding on a shiny white horse nor did he blow in on a gentle Caribbean breeze or even arrived in a magic chariot. No I suspect he flew in on American Airlines or some other aircraft.
Music Producer, Evan Rogers and his wife were vacationing in Barbados and one of Rihanna's friend introduced her to him and that's where the whole fairytale thing began. Now Rihanna if you haven't already done so, go out and get that friend a car and/or house of her choice dammit; that's an order and I'm not playin'!
Evan and his partner got her to record some stuff and sent them out to a number of recording companies one of which of Jay Z's who signed her to Def Jam Records. Go shorty! It's your birthday!
Since then, Miss Fenty has been on the ride of her life. She's become the belle of the ball. The swan who's turned into the beautiful princess. She's been making and leaving her mark all over the music, more specifically the RnB genre industry.
And now this young woman is rubbing shoulders with some of the most popular entertainers in the business.
She's walking red (and who knows what other color) carpets. She's shopping at those places that celebrities shop at.
She's attending those functions that famous performers attend. She's winning awards. She's touring and attending events all over the world. She's living it up!
She has released three studio albums: Music of the Sun (2005), A Girl Like Me (2006) and Good Girl Gone Bad (2007). On June 17, 1008 she released (or should that be re-released) Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded.
This young hard-working artist has got 43 award wins to her credit and another 78 nominations. These wins include 1 Grammy, 1 American Music, 18 Barbados Music, 3 Billboard, 2 World Music, 1 Japan Gold and 3 Teen Choice Awards. She has just been raking them in. She is one of only two Barbadians to have won a Grammy Award.
Her first hit was Pon De Replay. Since then, she's followed up with SOS (her first #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart - she's got 11 #1s in all on this chart), the ever famous (or should that be infamous - am I ever unsure today) Umbrella, Don't Stop the Music, Unfaithful, Shut Up and Drive and her most recent Take A Bow (which by the way is my absolute favorite of all her songs so far). Girlfriend has racked up 11 Top 40 hit singles in the US alone.
It should already be known that yes, I do have all of Rihanna's album. I don't just talk the talk, I walk the walk; I go out and support the music that I like/love. I'm an ardent and avid music lover; could not imagine the world nor my life without it.
She makes good music, she makes music I enjoy, music that gets you caught up in it. If it's an upbeat tune, you'll dance, bop or tap your feet to it. When she does ballads, she reaches in and touches the heart. When she does fun songs like Umbrella ella ella, hell you get to poking your friends' eyes out doing that there dance (not saying that this ever happened to me and I'm certainly not divulging any of my friends' names).
In addition to reaching number one in various countries, "Umbrella" was the number one single in the UK for 10 consecutive weeks, making it the longest running UK number one single since Wet Wet Wet's single "Love Is All Around", back in 1994, and the longest running number one by a female artist since Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You", which also topped the chart for 10 weeks in 1992. By the end of the year, "Umbrella" was ranked second on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart in the United States; however, due to the song's world-wide chart dominance it was named the most successful song in the world for 2007, getting 8,160,000 points on the United World Chart. Wikipedia. Girlfriend's got mad hits!
When Pon De Replay was released and I first saw the video I remember thinking, hmmm not bad, who is that girl. I didn't have to wonder much longer after that since everyone began talking about her and where she was from. She definitely had my attention. And when the song 'soaked in' it became infectious. Shit, couldn't listen to it without snapping my fingers, tapping my feet or clapping my hands. I won't even get into the rest of it. Just gonna leave it at that. It being what else that song made me do.
She has since (like so many of her counterparts before her) has been dipping into the field of acting. Her debut was a cameo appearance in Bring it On: All or Nothing (2006). She will play a more substantial role in Mama Black Widow which is now in post-production and expected to be released later this year.
Rihanna, my girl, you have done well. I am proud of you. Keep doing what you're doing. Work honestly and earnestly. And I beg you; I implore you, I beseech you, I urge you - Do Not Get Caught Up In The Hype, Glitz & Glamor. Don't let it overwhelmed you. Stay grounded (as you have so far). Remain focused.
But girlfriend most of all: Get up! Folks, how bout a round of applause? A standing ovation? This young woman has certainly put on quite a show! Take a bow girl. Take a bow. You sure as hell have earned it.
I like what you do and how you're doin' it. You have come a long way but bear in mind you've still got a long way to go. Don't be discouraged; hard times will come. But I believe in you, I know you can achieve.