Sunday 29 March, 2020

Rihanna on Hurricane Irma: ‘It breaks my heart’

Rihanna attends the launch of her beauty brand "Fenty Beauty by Rihanna" at Duggal Greenhouse on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Brooklyn, NY. (AP Photo)

Rihanna attends the launch of her beauty brand "Fenty Beauty by Rihanna" at Duggal Greenhouse on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Brooklyn, NY. (AP Photo)

Barbadian superstar Rihanna may be embarking on an exciting new venture with tonight’s launch of her beauty brand, Fenty Beauty, but not far from her thoughts are the thousands of Caribbean people devastated by Hurricane Irma.

“Praise God my family is safe! Barbados is actually very safe right now but it breaks my heart to see what’s happened in the rest of the Caribbean, my neighbouring islands,” said a sombre Rihanna tonight.

The 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year who, through her Clara Lionel Foundation, has helped to improve health care and education opportunities for vulnerable communities around the world, added:

“You feel helpless, you know? When it’s a natural disaster… you have no control over it and it’s the worst feeling because these are islands that I’ve been to and love.”

It was a solemn moment on what was an otherwise festive occasion, as Rihanna launched the beauty brand that has had social media buzzing for weeks with its hints at celebrating diversity.

The launch party was held at Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn tonight as New York Fashion Week begins.

Streaming it all live on the Fenty Beauty Facebook page, Rihanna talked directly to fans on the live stream and worked the black carpet in a bright yellow ensemble that featured a long-sleeved tee and a full skirt with a train.


Rihanna showed a peek of her midriff by tying a knot in the front of her shirt and gave a lot of leg with a thigh-high split that showed off her heeled gold sandals with straps winding right up above the knee. Bracelets and rings on one hand, hoop earrings and a sleek, high ponytail completed her sun-kissed look.

She charmed her way through interviews with People magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Access Hollywood and other press, but it was when AJ Calloway of ExtraTV asked about Hurricane Irma that she opened up about her mixed emotions of relief and sympathy.

As for Fenty Beauty, Rihanna told Calloway she was hands-on in every aspect of crafting the cosmetic products, including the way they look, feel and even smell.

Commenting on the wide range of skin tones represented in the Fenty Beauty brand, Rihanna told Extra TV:

“Diversity is very important to us at Fenty Beauty. I wanted all girls to feel included. Like all my friends – we come in a lot of shades and I need my friends to feel like they’re included.”

She said it “pains” her to know that women around the world can never find makeup that suits them.

“They either tell you that you’re too pale or too dark and I don’t believe in that. I believe that everybody has their shade and somebody just has to make it.”

And make it she did.

Fenty Beauty offers 40 shades of foundation, a palette that Rihanna said will be increased.

The foundation, along with other products such as highlighters, lipsticks, lip glosses, powder, will be available online from midnight and are also being stocked by Sephora and Harvey Nichols in 1,600 stores across 17 countries.

Calloway is no stranger to Barbados and has been to many Crop Over Festivals. He asked on behalf of Rihanna’s Caribbean fans whether the Fenty Beauty line would be coming to stores in the region – perhaps even Orign, the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre boutique in Barbados owned by her brother Rorrey Fenty.

“The Caribbean cannot be excluded – we will make sure that happens,” she promised.

After the media interviews, it was inside to the party where she officially launched the products and invited guests to try them out for themselves. Makeup artists were on hand for those who really wanted to make the most of the cosmetics party.

Meanwhile, Rihanna and her friends mingled with guests and kept the Facebook Live stream entertained with their fun banter and answers to viewers' questions as they enjoyed the event's signature drinks named after products in the Fenty Beauty line.

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