Rihanna’s Instagram username is “badgalriri,” but judging by the speech she gave at Harvard University yesterday, this bad gal has a good heart. The 29-year-old singer gets more media attention for things like bringing a bedazzled flask to the Grammys, but she is also a dedicated philanthropist. Yesterday, the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations presented her with the 2017 Humanitarian of the Year award. At the ceremony, she started her speech with the words, “So I made it to Harvard.”
Rihanna spoke about how helping others was important to her, even at a young age. “When I was five or six years old, I remember watching TV and I would see commercials with children suffering in other parts of the world, the ones where you could give 25 cents and save a child’s life… I would say to myself, ‘When I grow up and I get rich, I’m gonna save kids all over the world.’ I just didn’t know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager.”
At 18, Rihanna created the Believe Foundation to help terminally ill children, and in 2012, she started the Clara Lionel Foundation to provide healthcare and education in impoverished communities. After her grandmother’s death, Rihanna donated $1.75 million to fund a state-of-the-art breast cancer treatment center in Barbados.
In her speech, Rihanna encouraged the audience to help others without expecting anything in return. She said, “Today I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person, one organization, one situation, that touches your heart.”
If you want to love Rihanna even more than you already do, watch her whole speech here: