Rihanna: Start Helping One Person
Watch this famous Rihanna Speech. Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born 20 February 1988) is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, and raised in Bridgetown, she was discovered by American record producer Evan Rogers in her home country in 2003. Enjoy our Speeches with big English subtitles and keep your English learning journey.
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“Nothing in life comes easy. Everything comes with a sacrifice.” Rihanna
Rihanna full TRANSCRIPT:
So I made it to Harvard. Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life, but it feels good. Thank you, Dr. Counter, thank you to the Harvard Foundation, and thank you, Harvard University for this great honor. Thank you. I’m incredibly humbled by this, to be acknowledged at this magnitude for something that in truth I’ve never wanted credit for.
When I was five or six years old, I remember watching TV and I would see these commercials and I was watching other children suffer in other parts of the world and you know the commercials were [like], ‘you can give 25 cents, save a child’s life,’ you know? And I would think to myself like, I wonder how many 25 cents I could save up to save all the kids in Africa. And I would say to myself you know, ‘when I grow up, when I can get rich, I’mma 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 17 I started my career here in America, and by the age of 18, I started my first charity organization. I went on to team up with other organizations in the following years and met, helped, and even lost some of the most beautiful souls, from six-year-old Jasmina Anema who passed away in 2010 from leukemia, her story inspired thousands to volunteer as donors through DKMS. Fast forward to 2012 and then my grandmother, the late Clara Brathwaite, she lost her battle with cancer, which is the very reason and the driving force behind the Clara Lionel Foundation. We’re all human. And we all just want a chance: a chance at life, a chance in education, a chance at a future, really. And at CLF, our mission is to impact as many lives as possible, but it starts with just one. Just one.
As I stare out into this beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. I know that each and every one of you has the opportunity to help someone else. All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian.
People make it seem way too hard, man. The truth is, and what I want the little girl watching those commercials to know, is you don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don’t have to be rich to help somebody. You don’t gotta be famous. You don’t even have to be college-educated. I mean, I wish I was, I’m not saying you know… [Crowd laughs] Especially today. [laughs] It’s true, I might come back but all right. [Crowd cheers]
But it starts with your neighbor, the person right next to you, the person sitting next to you in class, the kid down the block in your neighborhood, you just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can. And today I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person: one organization, one situation that touches your heart. My grandmother always used to say if you’ve got a dollar, there’s plenty to share. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. It was my honor.
Over her career, she has worked on several projects aimed towards bettering society. Including efforts to increase access to education globally through her Clara Lionel Foundation global scholarship program and her support for the global partnership for education and global citizen.
But for this part of the night, I like to highlight some of the work she’s done in the field of health and in helping to empower others in that way. Part of Rihanna’s humanitarian work has been to develop a cancer diagnosis and treatment center at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown Barbados. As a student of global health, the impact of such an institution is not lost on me.
Too often higher levels of medical care are inaccessible to the populations that need them. Allowing individuals to unnecessarily suffer from preventable or treatable conditions. In my experience studying global health issues abroad, in western Kenya for example, one of the greatest barriers to obtaining medical care was distance. Distance to the treatment centers that offered the needed care. During my time there I remember learning the story of a woman who had lost her life during labor. She was being taken care of at a rural health clinic where typical labor procedures could be handled effectively, however, because of her specific complications the type of care she needed was at a larger health center which she couldn’t reach in time.
Fortunately, there are efforts locally and globally to tackle issues such as these and I tell this story not to single out a specific region but to highlight them for the importance of this work. In providing such valuable resources for cancer treatment in Barbados, Rihanna has worked to reduce barriers such as these to higher level medical care and the implementation of such work has reverberations throughout society.
I find this quotation from Rihanna particularly telling of the humanitarian spirit displayed by such work: “If you have the ability to help and lend a hand, no matter how big or small, you should definitely make that your responsibility”. To me, the idea that ability to help others, no matter how big or small, now becomes a responsibility is one that embodies what it means to be a humanitarian. To prioritize helping fellow human beings to the extent that one can is to exemplify humanitarianism.
As many of us are students and we’ll be navigating life outside of this university in a few years I hope this humanitarian spirit is one that we will incorporate wherever life may take us. Thank you, Rihanna, for inspiring us to use our abilities to work, work, work and to exercise these abilities in the service of authors. Thank you.
Rihanna, we thank you for your compassion. Your philanthropy to help others in need and your wonderful music. On behalf of the children of Cambridge, I present you these flowers as a token of our appreciation.
Thank you so much. Let’s take a picture right there.
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