NEW YORK – Models, musicians, actors and many more notables came out in droves Thursday night to celebrate superstar Rihanna’s fifth annual Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street, an event to benefit her Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF).
Though Rihanna, in a Givenchy Haute Couture ball gown stole the spotlight, another of her guests commanded similar attention: Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
Mottley — who made history in 2018 as the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of the nation where Rihanna was born and raised — was honored with the 2019 Diamond Ball Award for breaking barriers.
Mottley was cited for a 25-year career as an advocate for education, as well as championing causes which empower youth and women.
But speaking with the Hollywood Reporter ahead of the charity gala, hosted by Seth Meyers, Mottley downplayed her own achievements against Rihanna’s contributions to their homeland.
Barbadian charities receive assistance from CLF — founded by Rihanna in 2012 and named after her grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite — which benefits impoverished communities across the globe, with an emphasis on health, education, arts, culture, emergency response and combatting climate change.
Mottley told the Hollywood Reporter: “It’s so special what she’s been able to do.
“Barbados is a place where we believe in helping those who cannot help themselves or who are not strong enough to carry themselves.
And Rihanna has been able to exhibit that so beautifully in all that she’s done. She carries with her the DNA of the country.
“When we became an independent nation [in 1966], our prime minster at the time said that we should be friends of all and satellites of none.
“That requires a nobility of spirit, that requires an ability to also recognize that you are as strong as the weakest among you. That’s what Rihanna represents for us.”
According to the politician, Rihanna’s impact on her country will be “written about in history books”.
Mottley elaborated: “Her legacy is going to be global, but I think it’s also going to very much be coloured by her Barbadian upbringing and the values that she received while she grew up and was nurtured in our country.
“And she is still very much a part of it. How she speaks and how she behaves is as Barbadian as you get.”
Rihanna also paid tribute to “role model” Prime Minister Mottley.
She told the audience: “The Prime Minister of Barbados , the Honourable Mia Mottley; she has been such a role model in my life for many, many, many many years, years before she ran to be Prime Minister, this is a woman that I respected.
“I respected her morals, I respected her aspects on different things politically and just her willingness to go against the grain, to go against what is safe. She is very brave, she is very daring and that comes with what she is passionate about and that is a woman I can respect always because that is kinda what I hold myself to.”