Barbados officially became a republic on Tuesday, ending nearly 400 years of British rule.
The island’s most famous citizen, Rihanna, was on hand to witness the celebration, which formally cut ties with Queen Elizabeth II. It took place in Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown, where a young Robyn Fenty was raised before she moved to the U.S. to pursue a music career.
During the ceremony, the newly-independent country swore in its first president, Sandra Mason, while Rihanna was declared a National Hero. Prime Minister Mia Mottley honored the billionaire pop star for commanding “the imagination of the world” with her excellence, creativity, discipline and, “above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth,” according to The New York Times.
“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions,” said Mottley in a nod to Rihanna’s 2012 hit “Diamonds.”