Sunday, February 28

Rihanna Through the Years: From ‘Pon de Replay’ to Lingerie


Since the early aughts, Rihanna has made a name for herself in not only the music industry but also the worlds of movies, fashion, beauty and beyond.

Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Barbados in 1988, the singer was discovered by Jay-Z in 2005 after sending a demo of “Pon de Replay” to Def Jam Records. After signing with the label, she released the song as her debut single later that year followed by her first album, Music of the Sun.

Rihanna’s success continued in 2006 with her sophomore record, A Girl Like Me, but she did not become a household name until the release of her hit “Umbrella” the following year. She won her first Grammy Award in 2008 for the tune, which featured her mentor Jay-Z and was featured on her album Good Girl Gone Bad.

After her tumultuous relationship with Chris Brown ended in 2009 following his arrest for physically assaulting her, Rihanna transformed her sound from pop to a blend of hip-hop and rock on her fourth disc, Rated R. Her music continued to evolve as she tackled bubblegum pop on 2010’s Loud, EDM on 2012’s Unapologetic and contemporary R&B on 2016’s Anti.

In the midst of her busy music career, Rihanna achieved mogul status with several lucrative business ventures. She became a co-owner of Jay-Z’s streaming service, Tidal, in 2015 before starting her own cosmetics, lingerie and skincare companies: Fenty Beauty in 2017, Savage X Fenty in 2018 and Fenty Skin in 2020. She also launched a fashion house, Fenty, under the luxury group LVMH in 2019.

On top of that, Rihanna has starred in a number of movies and TV shows. She made her big-screen debut in the 2012 action film Battleship and voiced a character in the 2015 DreamWorks Animation flick Home. After a recurring role in the final season of Bates Motel, she starred in 2017’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and 2018’s Ocean’s 8.

“I don’t leave things hanging,” she told Interview magazine in 2019 while discussing her busy schedule. “I will work all day in a meeting, leave that meeting at 1 or 2 a.m., and then come home with a tiny group of staff and work until 5, 7 a.m. … I used to be in the studio, only the studio, for three months straight, and an album would come out. Now, it’s like a carousel. I do fashion one day, lingerie the next, beauty the next, then music the next. It’s like having a bunch of kids and you need to take care of them all.”

Scroll down to see photos of Rihanna through the years!

Rihanna Through the Years: From ‘Pon de Replay’ to Lingerie rihanna-through-the-years-from-pon-de-replay-to-lingerie
2005

Rihanna performed at one of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation events in July 2005 in the early days of her career.

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2005

The singer posed with Brown at Z100’s Jingle Ball in New York City in December 2005. She once said that they were “like brother and sister.”

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2006

She sang a duet with Elton John at the Fashion Rocks concert in NYC in September 2006.

John Barrett/Photolink/Mediapunch/Shutterstock

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2007

After debuting a shorter, edgier haircut, Rihanna told Allure magazine in December 2007, “The label didn’t want me to do this look. But it made me stand out as an artist. I don’t care who likes it — this is me.”

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2008

Nearly one year after “Umbrella” topped the charts, the songstress debuted her own collection of umbrellas at a Macy’s store in the Big Apple in February 2008.

Henry Lamb/Photowire/BEI/Shutterstock

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2008

Rihanna took home her first Grammy later that month for “Umbrella” in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category.

Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock

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2008

After going public with their relationship, Rihanna and Brown returned to Z100’s Jingle Ball in December 2008 for a joint performance.

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2009

The multihyphenate canceled her scheduled Grammys performance in February 2009 after Brown assaulted her the night before the awards ceremony. He pleaded guilty that June and served five years of probation.

Amanda Schwab/Starpix/Shutterstock

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2009

Rihanna changed the game in November 2009 with the release of her darkest album to date, Rated R.

 

Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

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2011

Rihanna mastered electronic music with the release of her and Calvin Harris’ hit “We Found Love” in September 2011. The song’s music video later won a Grammy.

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2012

To celebrate the release of her seventh album, Unapologetic, Rihanna embarked on her 777 tour in November 2012. She performed seven concerts in seven cities in seven countries and invited fans and journalists along for the ride.

Jon Furniss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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2016

The businesswoman dropped her critically acclaimed eighth album, Anti, in January 2016.

 

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2016

Drake professed his love for Rihanna while presenting her with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2016. The “Work” collaborators split less than two months later after dating on and off for seven years.

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

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2018

Fenty Beauty generated an estimated $570 million in revenue during its first year, according to Forbes.

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2018

Rihanna starred alongside Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina and Helena Bonham Carter in Ocean’s 8, which hit theaters in June 2018.

Zelig Shaul/Ace Pictures/Shutterstock

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2018

Rihanna showcased the first products from Savage X Fenty in September 2018 during New York Fashion Week.

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2020

Us Weekly broke the news of Rihanna’s split from billionaire businessman Hassan Jameel in January 2020, nearly three years after they were first linked.

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2020

The entrepreneur headed home to Barbados in December 2020 with her new boyfriend, A$AP Rocky, whom she had been friends with for years before their relationship took a romantic turn.

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