Mottley stars in Rihanna’s Diamond
A working day for Barbados fi rst female PM, Mia Mottley.
Photo by George Alleyne
Caribbean Life, S BQ eptember 20-26, 2019 43
By George Alleyne
At least one entertainment media
outlet thought that Barbados Prime
Minister, Mia Mottley drew attention
equal to that Rihanna at the pop superstar’s
annual Diamond Ball, but when
interviewed the island’s leader gushed
only about the child of the soil who now
entertains the world.
Rihanna had singled out Mottley as
one of two persons to be recognised at
the superstar’s fifth annual Diamond
Ball, held at New York’s Cipriani Wall
Street last Thursday.
But according to the Hollywood
Reporter, Mottley’s attendance at the
downtown Manhattan affair was more
than just an appearance.
“Though a Givenchy Haute Coutureclad
Rihanna certainly stole the spotlight,
one of her guests commanded
similar attention: Barbados’ Prime Minister
Mia Mottley,” the entertainment
The Barbados PM who last year May
broke the glass ceiling for females by
becoming the island’s first elected leader,
was honoured with the 2019 Diamond
Ball Award for breaking barriers.
“Throughout Mottley’s 25-year career,
she has been a stalwart advocate for
education in Barbados, as well as championing
causes which empower youth
and women,” the citation noted.
The magazine reported, “when talking
to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of
the charity gala, hosted by Seth Meyers,
Mottley sidestepped her own achievements
to focus on Rihanna’s contributions
to their beloved island”.
Mottley told the magazine that
Rihanna carries the Bajan DNA wherever
“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.
“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.”
Writer and civil rights activist Shaun
King also received the Diamond Ball
Award Thursday night.
The 2019 Diamond Ball raised at least
$5 million. The money goes to charities
in places that include Rihanna’s homeland,
other areas of the Caribbean and
sub-Saharan Africa. It is distributed
through the CL Foundation, named
after her grandparents Clara and Lionel
The world leading singer, fashion and
beauty mogul told the Associated Press
of dreaming of someday growing up to
be rich with helping others was at the
forefront of her vision.
“It’s always been important to me
before any success.
“As a kid, just seeing those commercials
on television with the kids in Africa
where it’s like, ‘It just takes 10 cent or 25
cents to help somebody’, I used to think,
‘When I grow up, I’m a gonna be rich
and I’m going to make a lot of money
and I could make a lot of 10 cents and a
lot of 25 cents’.”
She also told the Hollywood Reporter,
“My grandmother taught me that it only
takes one person, doing one thing, to
help someone else,” Rihanna said at one
point during the evening. “It doesn’t
matter if it’s one dollar or a million. It’s
about the collective joining forces to
make a difference and that is why I am
so thankful for all of you tonight.”
As usual the Diamond Ball was
chockfull of who’s who of the entertainment
and fashion world including Cardi
B, Normani, 2 Chainz, G-Eazy, Megan
Thee Stallion, Karlie Kloss, Shanina
Shaik, Slick Woods, YG, A$AP Rocky
and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
During the event’s auction portion,
Cardi B shelled out $111,000 for a rare
signed photo book of Rihanna, curated
by Nikolai and Simon Haas, that features
1,000 images of the ‘Work’ songstress
and came with a custom-built
The evening’s entertainment concluded
with performances from Rihanna’s
pals Pharrell Williams and DJ Khaled.
She added to the performances by
joining Williams onstage to sing their
2017 track ‘Lemon’ live for the first time
Rihanna attends the 5th annual Diamond Ball benefi t gala at Cipriani Wall
Street on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, in New York.
Charles Sykes / Invision / Associated Press