Rihanna is about to be presented with an award of pretty distinct honor. No, she’s not getting a Grammy late. In fact, she’s not getting anything particular for her music at all this time – she’s getting recognized for her outstanding humanitarian work. Harvard University is naming the 29-year-old musical artist its 2017 Humanitarian of the Year.
She’ll be receiving the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award in a ceremony at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre on Feb. 28. So, what has the artist done to deserve such a plum?
Fighting Injustice And Inequality
“Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados,” said Harvard Foundation Director S. Allen Counter, for starters.
She also founded the Clara Lionel Foundation, which fights “against injustice, inequality, and poverty”, by working to make education and health care more accessible to everyone. One way they do this is through a scholarship program offered to students from Caribbean countries attending US schools. The Foundation holds the Diamond Ball every year – a charity fundraiser that has raised millions of dollars in charity since 2014.
— RihannaDaily.com (@RihannaDaily) January 27, 2017
Rihanna is also an ambassador for the Global Citizen foundation. In September last year, she headlined their Global Citizen Festival, which celebrates the thousands of volunteers who contributed to the nonprofit’s efforts. There were plenty of surprises in store for the attendees, especially in the way of musical artists – Kendrick Lamar, Usher, and Elllie Goulding were all there. But Rihanna’s took the stage for the show’s finale.
Rihanna also travelled to Malawi last month as an ambassador for Global Citizen. She spent time with key educators, government officials, students, and mentors to promote education.
Getting Rid Of The HIV Stigma
Late last year, Rihanna made her way back to her homeland of Barbados, which was celebrating its 50th year of independence. There, she met with none other than Britain’s Prince Harry. Together, the two underwent finger-prick tests for HIV, in an effort to reduce the stigma of getting tested for the disease.
— Peter Hunt (@BBCPeterHunt) December 1, 2016
The two also gave a short interview on the importance of the test. The idea was to show how easy it was to diagnose for the disease; one could get their test results on the spot.
“If us getting tested normalizes it,” they said, “then job well done.”
And these don’t even count the number of benefit concerts she’s performed for over the years for various benefits. She’s sung for efforts against poverty, cancer, and inequality, to name a few. So, while she’s got 8 Grammys to brag about, this award will certainly stand out in its own way.