Rihanna Pledges $15M for Climate Justice
Caribbean queen, beauty mogul, businesswoman, and artist who has not dropped an album since 2016’s Anti, Robin Rihanna Fenty has pledged to donate $15 million to climate justice organizations in the United States and the Caribbean.
The announcement came late last week through the artist’s Clara Lionel Foundation, in partnership with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative, which is a global fund for pandemic relief. There are 18 organizations that will be the recipients of the money including the Indigenous Environmental Network, Climate Justice Alliance, and the Caribbean Climate Justice Project.
“These grants support entities focused on and led by women, youth, Black, Indigenous, people of color and LGBTQIA+ communities,” a press release said.
Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012 to support help communities prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis. The foundation is currently working with nine active climate-based projects in six countries and has already committed approximately $10 million for disaster preparedness and emergency response.
“These projects, which range from school and health clinic infrastructure hardening projects to gender-integrated emergency response planning and local capacity building in the Caribbean, serve as models of preparedness that can be replicated and scaled to enable other high-risk regions around the world to be better prepared to withstand extreme weather events,” the foundation’s website reads. “Ultimately, our goal is that the Caribbean becomes the world’s first climate-resilient zone.”
Rihanna is originally from Barbados and has publicly commented on the aftermath of extreme weather in the past. Right after Hurricane Maria knocked out Puerto Rico’s grid in 2017, Rihanna famously tweeted at then-President Trump to take action to help the colony in its post-storm recovery. The storm damaged about a third of the island’s more than 1 million occupied homes, shut down power for weeks for many parts of the island—and for months for some households. More than 100,000 Puerto Ricans left the island as a result of the storm.
When Hurricane Dorian slammed the Bahamas in 2019, creating a path of destroyed homes across the islands that left thousands homeless, the Clara Lionel Foundation formed an emergency fund for medical aid efforts.
It makes sense why Rihanna’s foundation would focus on Caribbean islands— the region is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and droughts— something climate change is only making worst for the region. And rising sea levels are swallowing beachfronts around the Caribbean.
Many of the island nations are low- and median-income countries where many communities lack the resources or infrastructure to constantly battle extreme events.
We may never see the light of another Rihanna album filled with enough bangers to fuel multiple summers, but the world is receiving climate justice support.