The Inspiring Story of Rihanna’s Rise to Fame Will Make You Love Her Even More
Singing, writing, acting, dancing — Rihanna does it all! If you had grown up in conditions similar to what Rihanna had to endure, would you have reached the level of success that she has today, or would you have given up somewhere along the way? Thank God our popstar was as resilient as they come, and now we get to enjoy her timeless hits anytime we want.
The singer’s childhood was nothing short of a bumpy ride, plagued with pain and endless struggle, poverty, addiction (her dad’s), and severe illness. All of these factors sound like the perfect recipe for a troubled childhood, don’t they? Well, if it had been anyone else in Rihanna’s place, they would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. But not our pop queen, who used these setbacks as stepping stones for her success. The hardships molded her into a strong-willed woman, who was tougher than a rock and didn’t let anything weigh her down.
Now, the mere mention of her name makes you think of all her smashing hits, the numerous awards she has received, and her glamorous appearances in movies and events that have turned her into a fashion icon. She has also been a lady of firsts, being Dior’s pioneer black spokeswoman in 2015 and the first female to have four of her hit singles top the Billboard 100 list in one year.
As stated earlier, her achievements were not just handed to her on a silver platter; she waded her way through the murkiest of waters to be deserving and worthy of each one of them.
It wasn’t always this easy.
Born in 1988 to Ronald Fenty and Monica Braithwaite in Barbados, Rihanna was welcomed into the woes of a troubled family. Fenty was an alcoholic and drug addict who could do anything to quench his addiction. As if that was not enough, he was a violent man who frequently abused his wife. Rihanna also admitted to having been physically assaulted at least once by her dad.
The situation at home was undoubtedly stressing out the young lass who started experiencing migraines from the age of 8. A doctor at the time suspected that Rihanna had a tumor, a situation which aggravated tension at home. Five years later, however, the headaches stopped after her parents finally divorced. Though the separation was good news for Rihanna, it also came with its fair share of complications.
The singer’s mom was forced to work full time to support the family, leaving her as her brother’s sole caregiver. As she revealed speaking to the Guardian, taking care of her younger brother forced her to grow up well before her time. Even at 14, she was more mature than other kids her age.
As if she didn’t already have it rough at home, Rihanna was constantly bullied at school for her complexion. She was lighter than most other students, being a Barbadian-Irish descendant of the Redlegs, a group known for its poverty and light skin. Attracting attention from bullies made her extremely shy and closed off, though Rihanna eventually grew out of that phase. To prove that she was a tough nut, she joined the army and rose to the rank of corporal.
At school, Rihanna’s singing talent helped her cope with her daily struggles. At 15, she won a beauty pageant thanks to Hero by Mariah Carey. Soon after this win, American producer Evan Rogers expressed his interest in her talent and asked her to move to Connecticut where they recorded a demo which Rogers sent to different labels, and it happened to land on Def Jam’s Jay Z.
We have a lot to thank Jay Z for because the rapper signed Rihanna within a day, saying that it took him two minutes to know that her singing talent was really unique. After the release of Pon de Replay a few months later, Rihanna shot to global stardom and has never looked back since.
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