I remember the exact day I first heard the name "Rihanna" - I was reading a Top Of The Pops magazine back in 2005, when I came across lyrics for this song called 'Pon De Replay'. I'd never heard of her before, let alone heard the song, but for some reason my teenage self felt compelled to check it out… and I'm glad I did. I don't think my life would have been the same otherwise.
Fast forward eight years later, and Rihanna is a household name and arguably one of the most famous people on the planet. From #1 albums, singles, worldwide tours, endorsement deals, fashion lines and numerous broken records. The singer-songwriter has branched out into several different career paths, from acting in films such as Battleship to designing her own fashion lines with River Island, not to mention her own TV series 'Styled to Rock', to covering the world's most famous magazines from Vogue, Elle and Harpers Bazaar to Rolling Stone, NME and GQ, multiple times, Queen Fenty has done it all - all, at the age of just twenty-five years old.
Last Sunday, at the American Music Awards, the superstar was awarded the prestigious honour of the first EVER AMA Icon award, in recognition of her vast achievements during her short, yet highly successful career. RiRi was presented with the award by her mother, Monica Braithwaite, who praised her daughter for her achievements, "The journey of your career has not always been an easy one, but tonight I applaud and admire you for being so strong," she said, before handing the microphone over to her daughter.
"So many people I have to thank for keeping me sane: my friends, my family, my fans," Rihanna said, as she began her speech, "I love you so much, you have no idea, you keep me driven, you keep this thing special!" she continued, before closing with one lasting thought, " I can't believe that at 25 years-old I'm holding an Icon award, If you know me, then you know that I love you! I am grateful, I'm only as good as my team, so I love you so much," she said, as she left the stage.
In eight years, Rihanna's achievements have been nothing short of remarkable, from six Grammy Awards, to eight American Music Awards, eleven Billboard Music Awards, to two BRIT Awards, from selling over 50 million albums and 180 million singles worldwide, to being the youngest artist to achieve twelve number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, from albums that have consecutively hit the #1 spot and gone 6x platinum to becoming the second best-selling female singles artist in the USA. That, combined with the fact that she's the most popular person on Facebook, the sixth most followed on Twitter and the most subscribed artist on YouTube - is mind-blowing (I can't read it all without stopping to breathe), and whether you like her or not, your opinion is profoundly irrelevant. Because as it stands, the above stats is just the half of it.
That all sounds pretty iconic to me… And do you know why? Because quite frankly, it IS. It's the work ethic, and achievements of an ICON. I could go on for a substantial amount of time here, but looking at those stats, is there any wonder Rihanna was awarded the first EVER Icon award? - She most definitely deserved it. Rih's one of the most hard-working people I've ever been fortunate enough to know, and despite her successes, she's still as humble and as selfless as ever, she constantly inspires me to be myself, to be fearless, to not care about the negativity and to simply focus on my goals regardless of the obstacles.
"One hit wonder" they used to say. "She can't sing," they also said, or my personal favourite "She'll be UNKNOWN two years from now," I mean, I guess the critics will always have something negative to say, right? But that will never stop her.
"That Rihanna reign just won't let up," you see.
Check out the video of Rihanna accepting her Icon award below!
Shehnaz Khan has a slight addiction to concerts, gigs and just music in general. You'd usually find a lot of Beyonce and Rihanna on her iPod, along with the usual R&B, HipHop and Rap. You definitely wouldn't find any 'heavy metal' or shouting whatsoever, because Shehnaz would ideally like to keep her hearing intact. Follow Shehnaz on Twitter.