In her 18 year career, Rihanna has gone from beginner musician to billion dollar business mogul. The creative leader continues to make her mark in the industry, be it in music, fashion, beauty or art.
Over the past decade, artists have come and gone, leaving their mark on pop culture. Fame and attention only last for so long and in the age of social media, all it takes is the refresh button to wipe away content. In order to stay relevant, musicians have learned to gain new skills, reach wider audiences, and create financial prosperity for themselves. In this generation, there is one superior female that has taken her image and brand to the next level. Rihanna is a household name around the globe. Since 2005, she has proven herself to be the biggest artist and mogul of our time, dipping her toes into music, business, fashion and so much more. Her empowerment as a successful woman of color has inspired all generations to rise to the top and gain the leadership and the success that they deserve. Her prolific career proves that Rihanna is a person who genuinely wants to put her best into every endeavor and cares about the people who benefit from it.
Rihanna began as just a young girl from Barbados. She saw fashion and music as a creative outlet and wanted to find opportunities that would let her share her ideas with a huge audience. Little did she know her creative visions would soon turn into a reality and change the field of entrepreneurship. After her first radio hit “Pon De Replay,” her music career skyrocketed. Over the last 15 years, Rihanna released eight studio albums, collectively selling 60 million copies worldwide. Tracks like “We Found Love”, “Love The Way You Lie”, and “Diamonds” became global hits. Her music was in shopping malls, in commercials, and on radio stations worldwide. At first, her main revenue came from putting on tours and shows, but as technology started to advance, so did she. On her VEVO YouTube channel, she racked up 11.8 billion views and became the top-selling digital artist of all time. The titles kept rolling in as the years passed. “The Most Viewed Female Artist” and “Wealthiest Female Singer” are headlines that people associate with the Barbadian singer. In terms of success, she made it. What more was there to do? The superstar had not released music since 2016, and she left fans wondering and speculating if there would be more. Another creative outlet and financial jackpot was opening up for Rihanna. After years of being one identity, she finally transitioned to lead her next creative endeavor. This led to one of the biggest fashion collaborations and businesses of all time, Fenty Beauty.
“Fenty was created for everyone. For women of all shades, personalities, attitudes, cultures, and races. I wanted people to be included, that’s why I made this line.” Rihanna writes on the Fenty Beauty website. A makeup company from the distinguished singer was long-awaited as she was known to be passionate about it even before the launch of her music career. Back in Barbados, her mother worked behind a cosmetic counter and ended up doing professional makeup work at weddings. As a young girl, she saw the power of beauty and how it could inspire people. Rihanna then sought out the best way to create a brand, one that rejected society’s idea of “picture perfect”. This led to September of 2017, where she partnered with LVMH, a French luxury company, to create Fenty Beauty. The brand produces all kinds of makeup (including 40 shades of foundation) while promoting inclusivity of all races and body types. During the first launch, the products sold out and the company made over 100 million in the first week. After this makeup launch, the Savage x Fenty lingerie line was released, which offers up to size 14 for all women. Again, the same goal was at the top of Rihanna’s agenda: diversity and inclusivity. “I’m looking for unique characteristics in people that aren’t usually highlighted in fashion,” the business owner said in the 2019 Amazon Prime Video, “Savage x Fenty Show”. This documentary at the Barclay Center captured a combination of music, dance, fashion, and makeup that Rihanna had envisioned for the future of the company. By having leadership in both her makeup and lingerie corporations, Rihanna has become the first woman of color to head up a luxury house for a conglomerate. She now uses her success to further influence women in positions of power.
It’s clear that Rihanna has made history. She has countless awards and nominations, as well as the money, to prove it. Let’s not forget that Rihanna was recently honored as a national hero of her homeland, Barbados. In addition to being professionally successful, it is apparent that her skills and creative choices have an influential impact on women and young girls around the world. As of this year, Rihanna has 93.2 million followers on just Instagram alone. Her social media presence promotes the idea that you should love yourself as a creator and have confidence in all your endeavors. The superstar’s strategy on all platforms is not mistaken for a marketing technique, because her authenticity communicates that it’s just who she is. This translates to fans, and brands, positively, bringing in deals and endorsements left and right.
Rihanna continues to be an inspiration to many, speaking out about racial injustice and registering to vote. She has influenced each generation to create music, art, and ideas that will change the world for the better. Maybe you listened to “Umbrella” driving to high school on a Monday morning, or maybe you just heard “Desperado” on Tik Tok. Not only does her music hold up, but her clothing and makeup lines have proved to be long-lasting. One thing for sure is that if Rihanna continues to establish herself as an omnitalented creator and entrepreneur, another decade will pass, and she will still be on top.