Barbados to rename street to honor Rihanna

Back home: Rihanna’s childhood home, right, on Westbury New Road in Saint Michael, Barbados.
Photo by George Alleyne

She’s getting her due.

Barbadian pop singer Rihanna is getting a street named after her, in her hometown of Saint Michael. The Barbados Ministry of Tourism announced last week they are going to rename the street of the singer’s childhood home, Westbury New Road, to Rihanna Drive on Nov. 30. The recognition is an effort to celebrate her international stardom, and the national pride she fosters in her countryfolk, said a consultant with the ministry.

“The decision to rename the road to Rihanna Drive is to honor Rihanna — she is a source of pride for many, she grew up in the area, and the entire Barbados is proud of her,” said Hugh Foster. “She has accomplished amazing things in music, as an actress, and entrepreneur, and she’s multitalented — all of the residents are very proud of her and thought it was fitting to rename the road.”

Because of Rihanna’s notoriety, the increased interest in the land of the flying fish by fans curious about her life before she rose to fame, have inundated the department and transportation companies with inquiries, according to Foster.

“One of the reasons to rename Westbury New Road to Rihanna Drive, is because she is a huge name globally and for the last three years, we’ve been getting increasing feedback from cab drivers about tourists who wanted to see where she lived and where she was raised,” he said.

Rihanna continues to grow bigger as an international artist this street naming will be a solution to those requests.
In an effort to make the discovery of her home more accessible to fans, the idea for a Rihanna Drive was born.

“We felt we needed to develop her address as an attraction as well because she is huge globally, and she’s up there with Elvis and The Beatles. The situation was driven by a demand to know more about her and we want to assist this.”

And on the tiny and mostly residential road, the singer’s old neighbors happily await the change even though many have called it Westbury New Road for years. Foster says Rihanna is one of the most famous people from the island and for most residents, a their street being named after her is an honor.

“We did a survey on the road before and I would say 98 percent of the residents were very happy about the idea and felt it was a fitting way to honor her,” said Foster. “When you come from a small neighborhood and a small country and conquer the world, it brings a source of joy for many.”

The unveiling of Rihanna Drive will be celebrated with a ceremony on Barbados’ independence day, and will be attended by the singer herself.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.
Westbury New Road will be renamed to Rihanna Drive when Barbados celebrates its day of independence on Nov. 30. The Ministry of Tourism says the decision is to honor the international stardom the singer has achieved and promote the street as a tourist attraction.
Photo by George Alleyne

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