“I don’t think you get celebrated enough.”
This was Rihanna’s message to young people during her speech at the 69th annual Parsons School of Design benefit on Monday night. The pop star, wearing a pantsuit designed by a Parsons graduate, was there to be honored by the fashion school for her work as both a style icon and a humanitarian.
The singer’s acceptance speech was directed at the students, and how they deserve much more credit for their contributions to the world than they receive.
“You should be celebrated for every aspect of your growth and your growing pains,” Rihanna, who partnered with Donna Karan to lead a school fellowship program, said.
“You should be celebrated for your creativity, for your fearlessness, for your persistence and determination. You should be celebrated for all the effort that you put into building your future, for being different, for not being given enough credit—for not having to use eye cream! My point is, we often tear our youth down when we should be building them up. At the end of the day, our future is in their hands.”
The singer gave a similarly inspiring message in March, when she accepted Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award, saying: “You don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian, to help somebody. You don’t have to be famous. You don’t have to be college-educated.”
Later in the evening during the Parsons gala, Rihanna revealed the winner of the “Design Fellowship Program.” Through the program, three Parsons students will get the chance to work on a fashion merchandise line in Haiti for Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation.
Watch more excerpts from Rihanna’s speech above.