Rihanna Accepts a Harvard Humanitarian Award Like Only She Can

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Rihanna may be the most fabulous honoree in The Harvard Foundation's history.

The "Work" singer traveled to Cambridge, Mass., on Tuesday to accept Harvard University's 2017 Humanitarian of the Year award. At the end of a lengthy ceremony, the Grammy winner delivered a speech that was a little sassy, a lot inspirational, and completely moving.

"So, I made it to Harvard," she quipped while giving her long ponytail a sassy stroke. "Never thought I'd be able to say that in my life, but it feels good."

She went on: “I’m incredibly humbled by this. To be acknowledged at this magnitude, for something that, in truth, I’ve never wanted credit for.”

The prestigious award, which has previously been bestowed upon Malala Yousafzai, Ruby Dee, Kofi Annan, and Arthur Ashe, recognizes her work with her Clara Lionel Foundation, the Global Citizen Project, and UNICEF. The 29-year-old Grammy winner is also being recognized for her generous donation to fund a breast cancer treatment center in her native Barbados.

Dressed in an off-the-shoulder tweed Monse dress, Rihanna stressed that you don't need to be rich or famous to help people. You don't even need to be college educated.

Rihanna Harvard Award
Paul Marotta/Getty

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“We’re all human. We all just want a chance, a chance at life, a chance at an education, a chance at a future, really,” she said. “At CLF [Clara Lionel Foundation], 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.”

Watch her moving speech in its entirety in the video at top (from the 1:16:00 mark).

 
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