Using her celebrity and socioeconomic statuses to financially support causes dear to her heart, Rihanna proves that being a humanitarian can unabashedly extend beyond physically present community service or charity work. 
ILLUSTRATED BY @CUUR. PHOTO COURTESY OF AP IMAGES 

When Rihanna becomes a topic of discussion, 'bad gal' is typically the go-to phrase used to depict the carefree pop singer--after all, that name is the social media handle we've all come to know, love and follow for years. Aside from breaking records constantly with her chart-topping singles--she recently beat out Michael Jackson's record as the musical artist with the most ever top-10 hits--and even trying her hand at acting and shoe design, believe it or not, the bad gal has had quite the grip on the world of philanthropy, too. 

Last week Rihanna was awarded with the Humanitarian Award by Harvard University for her work founding an oncology center for breast cancer patients, as well as the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program, a foundation that supports Caribbean and South American students who plan on attending a U.S. university. In her acceptance speech, the singer shares her own reasons for wanting to start a foundation, namely her late grandmother, Clara Brathwaite.
"At 17 I started my career here in America, and by the age of 18 I started my first charity foundation...We're all human, and we all just want a chance. A chance at life, a chance at an education, a chance at a future, really...As I stare out into this beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. I know that each and everyone of you has the opportunity to help someone else. All you need to do is help one person, expect nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian. People make it seem way too hard man, [but] the truth is...it starts with your neighbor, the person right next to you...you just do whatever you can to do whatever you can..."

In the Clara Lionel Foundation's official Facebook page, Rihanna insightfully mentions her desire for freeing the financial burdens of those wanting to achieve a college education:

"I don't think it's fair that children carry the burden of financial limitations at such a young age. We want college graduates in our program...a lot of these kids are really smart and may be doing well in school but they might not have the access or the financial stability to take it any further [than] that and that's why we started this program."

This is my ode to celebrities using their platform to reach a grand scale of thinkers and doers, free but critical.

Using her celebrity and socioeconomic statuses to financially support causes near and dear to her, Rihanna proves that being a humanitarian can unabashedly extend beyond physically present community service or charity work.

Watch Rihanna accept the 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award 


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