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The Evolution of Rihanna ✨

Written by: Caroline Walters

If there’s one thing about Rihanna, it’s that she’s perfectly good at making an incredible return to the music scene! She’s performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, and we can’t think of a better way for her to make a comeback. We’re eagerly waiting to see her performance and can’t help but look back on her career as we wait! 😍

Rihanna got her first big break when she was only 17 with the release of “Pon de Replay” in 2005! This song became an instant classic and is still everyone’s go-to when looking for throwback music. This was the first single from her debut album, Music Of The Sun, and peaked at number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart! She recorded it on breaks during the school year, so it took a little longer to be released. Overall, it spent 12 weeks in the top 10 of the Hot 100 and 23 weeks on the Hot 100 in total, which is pretty incredible for a debut single! 🎤

Rihanna was instantly signed to Def Jam, Jay-Z’s label, and released her second album, A Girl Like Me, in April of 2006! The single “SOS” became her first number-one song and was even certified triple platinum in 2021. After the album was released, she went on her very first North American tour; Rihanna: Live in Concert. After her own headlining tour, she finished the year out by opening up for the Black Eyed Peas! ✈️

By 2008, she was being nominated for Grammy Awards left and right, and even won one for her song “Umbrella” with Jay-Z! This marked her very first Grammy win from the four categories she was nominated in. Her fourth studio album, Rated R, was released in 2009, and critics were calling the album her best one yet. Rihanna continued to release albums that charted incredibly high, with her fifth album LOUD earning her first Grammy nomination for Album of the Year! LOUD was the first album to have a feature from Drake on it, and since then, the pair have continued to collaborate and release music together. 🤘🏼

As often as Rihanna was releasing music, she was also pursuing other endeavors like acting! She made her break on the big screen with her role in the film “Battleship” in 2012! Since then, she’s had cameos in other movies, but her biggest role was in the 2018 movie "Ocean’s 8" as a computer hacker where she starred alongside Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett! We’ll take any excuse to watch Rihanna on the big screen. 🎥

Also in 2012 came Rihanna’s first number-one album! Unapologetic, released in December of 2012, charted at number 1 in multiple countries and stayed in the top 5 in many others! Not only did the album perform so well commercially, but it also won her a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2014 awards ceremony! In the awards season following the release of Unapologetic, Rihanna was winning all the awards from Best Music Video to International Female Artist of the year! There’s nothing we love more than seeing a queen get her crowns. 👑

While taking a break from releasing albums every year, Rihanna partnered with Puma as a brand ambassador and was named the new creative director for the company! This kickstarted her career in the beauty and fashion industry as she oversaw the release of fur sliders and suede creepers from the beloved shoe brand. Rihanna’s main job with Puma is to redesign classic shoes and create new ones that we’re all sure to be obsessed with! 👟

Rihanna’s most recent studio album, ANTI, was released in 2016, and within two weeks, was charting at number 1! This was the first album by a black woman to spend at least 300 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts. She went on a world tour for this album from March of 2016 through November, and almost every single show was sold out! It was nominated for 5 awards at the 2017 Grammy Awards but unfortunately didn’t win any of its categories. That doesn’t mean it’s not overwhelmingly loved by her fans! 🤍

Since the release of ANTI, Rihanna’s taken a step back from music to focus on her other career moves! She started her own makeup line, Fenty Beauty, in 2017 with the promise of inclusive shades for every skin tone. In 2018, she launched her Savage Fenty collection, which featured many choices for sleepwear and intimates. Her most recent launch was the release of Fenty Skin, which has gone on to release many different makeup, beauty, and skincare products! Her main goal with these companies was to inspire people to wear what feels best for them and to become confident in their skin. 🥺

Since 2016, Rihanna’s only teased us with a couple of new singles, but we’re really hoping that her playing the Super Bowl halftime show means she’ll grace us with any kind of new music soon! The Super Bowl will be aired on FOX if you have cable, but if you don’t, you can watch it with either a Hulu+ or Sling TV subscription. We’ve loved watching her grow and become confident as not only a musician but a businesswoman throughout the years, and can’t wait to watch her amaze us at the Super Bowl! If you have any favorite Rihanna moments we missed, let us know on our Instagram or Twitter! 💜

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