Robyn Rihanna Fenty is one of the greatest examples of turning a passion into multiple businesses and becoming one of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs along the way. Rihanna has stolen our hearts since she introduced herself to the world at 17 years old with her first single, “Pon De Replay,” in 2005. From there, she created a total of eight studio albums, won nine Grammy Awards and earned millions in music sales.
However, that was only the beginning of the mogul’s legacy. What started off as a young girl from Barbados breaking through the music industry became a boss growing an empire and proving to others that nothing is impossible to accomplish. After her latest album, ANTI, was released in 2016, Rihanna created her own cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty.
Soon after, Rihanna launched her lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, with the hope of bringing more inclusivity and access for Black women in those spaces. The culmination of both brands, her collaboration with PUMA, being a creative director for multiple companies and other investments made Rihanna a billionaire in the year 2021.
The lesson she and her career journey teach is that if you really want to succeed at something, you must bet on yourself. Rih has shown us time and time again that staying true to who you are and believing in your dreams is the secret to building your own boss empire.
Because Rihanna has always been authentically herself, we shouldn’t be too surprised that she has made it this far. The beloved entertainer has dropped hints of her drive and determination over the years. Take a look at 11 quotes from the superstar where she manifested her empire and became an inspiration for Black women everywhere to chase the bag.
1. Glamour Magazine, 2011: “My music definitely determines the direction we’re gonna move in. It’s like music, fashion, hair, makeup.”
Music can be a compass for where you decide to go in life. Over the years, Rihanna has gone from Music of the Sun to Good Girl Gone Bad and ANTI, demonstrating her growth musically as well as personally. Rihanna has used this talent as a starting point to pursue her other passions.
It was only a matter of time before she tapped into all of her ideas and created magic with them. Use this quote as a sign to open up your mind to what you’re capable of. Maybe something you are really good at can propel you to dominate in another space. People may think that music is separate from other industries, but for Rihanna, it is all one in the same.
2. Women’s Wear Daily, 2014: “Music and fashion go hand in hand. I think music inspires all types of arts; it inspires life, emotion, mood, and all of those things are reflected in my fashion and my style. One doesn’t go without the other.”
However you choose to express yourself, you should be considered an artist. For Rihanna, music and fashion have always been at the top of how she shows the world who she really is. Rih does not believe in limiting herself with one definition for her identity, and neither should you.
Savage X Fenty is just another extension of the CEO and a continuation of her artistic expression. Whether it is music or fashion, creation and expression are always at the center. As long as you are creating, you are staying true to who you are and encouraging others to do the same.
3. Vogue, 2016: “I always believed that when you follow your heart or your gut, when you really follow the things that feel great to you, you can never lose because settling is the worst feeling in the world.”
When you come up with a great idea, you can get this anxious feeling that makes you question if your passions are worth exploring. Sometimes, people can be the biggest obstacle standing in their own way when it comes to taking a chance on things. For Rihanna, if she did not follow her heart, whatever that looked like, it would have been a disservice to herself and the world.
When you get these big ideas that may scare you, it is not by accident. The seed has been planted for a reason, and it is up to you to take action. You may not know what the outcome will be, but Rih is proof that dipping your toes in the water is just the first step in creating wealth and making a positive impact on different industries for generations to come.
4. Grammy Awards Ad, 2013: “When a door closes, you have two choices: Give up or keep going. Let them shut you down, or prove them wrong. We all start somewhere; it’s where you end up that counts.”
It is important to know when to pivot. While we may have known Rihanna for her music, she was not afraid to try something new. She was honest about thinking of different things to attempt, even if people may not have agreed with her choices initially. After you have been doing something for a long time, things may not feel the same, and it is okay to make a change for yourself. You can use the same drive you put into one project and direct it toward another one.
Rihanna has shown that even if people question your decision, it is important to prove to the naysayers that you will continue to flourish and thrive regardless. Pivoting just means that your business grows with you as a person.
5. GQ, 2012: “Sometimes a person looks at me and sees dollars. They see numbers and they see a product. I look at me and see art.”
When building a business, it is important to have the right mindset. Your purpose can really impact the scale of your company and determine its sustainability. Rihanna launched these businesses concentrating on the art that she wanted to put out into the world, not on the money she could make off them.
When you lose sight of your “why” and only focus on the dollar signs, you are more likely to lose momentum and overwork yourself during the rough times. Building a company is no easy task, so you must remember your reasons in order to ground yourself and stay motivated to keep going. If you stick to that, the only way to go is up.
6. Nothing is Promised by Rihanna, 2016: “I will never put a n**ga above this money / I’ma wake up and just hug this money.”
Despite Rihanna’s beautiful family with rapper ASAP Rocky, this quote shows that Rihanna does not allow love to distract her from her bigger goal. Life is going to happen and people will come and go. Whether it is friends or lovers, they should not determine who you aspire to be and what you envision to create.
It is imperative to keep your eyes on the prize and not let other people knock you off your groove. Your dreams will always be what take you further in life no matter who is by your side. Your lover or partner is just an addition to the bigger picture.
7. B**ch Better Have My Money by Rihanna, 2015: “B**ch better have my money!”
When this iconic song was released in 2015, the world was not ready. This half-sung, half-rapped single gave the extra energy people needed when it came to standing on business. It still gives that same feeling to this day. This entire song is a declaration for people to reclaim what is theirs with an attitude to match.
The track is a message that whoever sings it calls the shots. It reminds others that they are not to be played with. When it comes down to business and making a profit, know your value. Do not let others short change you or let anyone shake you of your confidence. In case you do run into some problems and people forget the bottom line, all you have to say is, “B**ch better have my money.”
8. “I stand up for what I believe in, and a lot of the time that can be against people’s opinions.”
Sometimes your dreams or ideas can go against the grain in society. Ideas can really shake things up, cause controversy or make others uncomfortable. What Rihanna is really good at is making a statement in her work and portraying the unconventional way of doing things. The rebel in her has always embraced doing things differently, which has created a fan base that relates closely to the artist.
Rihanna knew that even though her ideas may rub some people the wrong way, she was doing it for the greater good. Both Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty have missions to provide more inclusivity in their respective spaces, which sets them apart from competitors. This made Rih a trailblazer and started a movement for other companies and brands to pay more attention and follow suit.
9. “I think women want freedom. They want to be empowered. They want hope. They want love; they want all the things that I want, and I’m not afraid to say those things and act on them, and I think that’s why they identify with me.”
Rihanna has always been an advocate for women. When the young icon started Fenty Beauty, she intentionally launched the business with 40 different foundation options because she knew there was a gap in the market for darker-skinned women. Before Savage X Fenty, the lingerie fashion industry was more Eurocentric and catered to slimmer body types. That provided an opportunity for Rihanna to create a space for the curvy, bold and bada** women who have not felt represented for a long time.
From this quote, you can understand that Rihanna believes women should be free to be exactly who they are. Women should not be put into a box or told that there is only one way to be and feel sexy. Stepping outside of the box and creating her own path is a practice that the star cemented in her music and carried over to her additional businesses. So, if you ever want to start a business, don’t think small. Go big or go home.
10. “That’s all I could ever hope for, to have a positive effect on women. ‘Cause women are powerful, powerful beings. But they’re also the most doubtful beings. They’ll never know — we’ll never know — how powerful we are.”
Women will never know how powerful they are until they act on that power. The narrative behind women in the U.S., especially Black women, has historically been that the ladies were only purposeful for certain things. But on the contrary, if you look at the stats, Black women have been breaking glass ceilings for quite some time.
Rihanna knew that this narrative, used to keep women down, has been hurting those who continue to believe it. Women are creators, visionaries and leaders. Together, women can conquer so many things and it is up to each and every one to know her worth. With Rih’s success, she can testify that women cannot allow society to keep them discouraged and dismissed as only useful in one category. Women are not monoliths. These ladies, especially those in the Black community, are multifaceted and it is about time they are represented as such.
11. The Cut, 2017: “Even if I can’t feel it in that moment, I just thank God anyway because I know that there’s something better coming, and he’s doing it for my good.”
At the end of the day, when you are creating your business or legacy, never forget about your faith. Your belief system is crucial and it keeps you on course when you are building something great. Whatever core tenants you hold close can guide you in the right direction and keep you stable when your surroundings feel a little shaky.
While it may seem like you are doing things alone, there is always support from a higher source and people in your community that help you continue to grow and push through. The bigger purpose behind what you provide for the world is greater than you can imagine. Embrace the little voice inside you that is telling you to take a big leap and see where you land.