No longer a lowly grasshopper, Rihanna named the youngest self-made billionaire in the United States

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      Back when Harry Styles or Dua Lipa were starting elementary school, the Straight was there when Rihanna was first climbing her way up the pop-music ladder. That included a somewhat less-than-glowing review of a 2007 opening slot for Akon at Rogers Arena.

      The headline for that piece was “Akon shows Rihanna how it’s done”, and the Coles Notes version is that the headliner was every bit as polished and professional as the opener was tentative and unsure of herself.

      But despite that, it was already obvious Rihanna was busy plotting out her future plans for world domination. The review ended like this: “As Akon led 7,000 or so deliriously dancing Vancouverites through the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony jam “I Tried”, those sitting near the mixing board might have noticed Rihanna standing there in a cloak, taking it all in. It was the sight of a lowly grasshopper giving a certified master her undivided attention.”

      And before you get all up in arms about the use of the word “lowly”, make sure you read here after boning up on your Kung Fu trivia.

      Flash forward a decade and a half, and Rihanna has not only long ago left behind her grasshopper status, but has now taken her place beside all-time pop-music legends like Cher and Madonna. And, arguably, surpassed them when it comes to business acumen.

      Last month Forbes released a list of America’s richest self-made women with roofing magnate Diane Hendricks coming in at number one. Making the cut at number 21 was Barbados-born, and California-based, Rihanna, who’s made her future not only through music, but also acting roles and a cosmetics and clothing empire known as Fenty.

      According to CNBC, the 34-year-old multi-talented threat is the youngest person on the list, and the only billionaire under the age of 40.

      Need another reason to love Rihanna transformation from grasshopper to full-blown master of all she surveys?

      A decade ago, long before the world was pushing the climate-change panic button, Rihanna set up the Clara Lionel Foundation to promote education and climate resilience initiatives. This past January the CLF joined forces with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to donate US$15 million to 18 climate justice groups around the world.

      In a 2019 interview with The New York Times T Magazine, Rihanna suggested that it’s never been about the money for her.

      “My money is not for me; it’s always the thought that I can help someone else,” she noted. “The world can really make you believe that the wrong things are priority, and it makes you really miss the core of life, what it means to be alive.”

      For the curious, Forbes pegs Rihanna’s worth at US$1.4 billion. Look and listen grasshoppers.