Barbados names native Rihanna as cultural ambassador

February 22, 2008 6:18:37 PM PST
Barbados has named Rihanna as an honorary cultural ambassador for her native Caribbean island. Prime Minister David Thompson made the announcement at a rally Thursday night in the capital, Bridgetown, to honor the 20-year-old singer, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty.

Thompson said the government also was recognizing Rihanna's contributions by giving her a "piece of the rock" - a plot of real estate in the exclusive Apes Hill area of St. James parish.

Other honorary ambassadors for Barbados include Obadele Thompson, an island-born sprinter who won the bronze medal in the 100 meters at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Rihanna burst onto the music scene in 2005 with her debut album "Music of the Sun." Her megahit "Umbrella," released last May, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for seven weeks.

Accompanied by R&B singer Chris Brown, she arrived on the island Thursday afternoon from London, where she attended the Brit Awards ceremony.