Rihanna was presented with the Rock Star Award at BET’s Black Girls Rock! event on Friday, celebrating her career along with many other talented black women in the entertainment industry.
The show airs Tuesday (April 5) at 8 p.m. EST on BET and now Rihanna’s speech is available to stream in full.
In it, she thanked her mother and grandmother, calling them the “two strongest black women I know,” as well as the ceremony organizers for celebrating black women “in a world that doesn’t celebrate us enough.” From there, she preached a message of being oneself and allowing that to be a guiding force.
“I believe God put us all here for a reason and we all have our purpose and we are here to fulfill our purpose individually,” Rihanna said. “I think the thing that’s kept me sane, the thing that’s kept me humble, the thing that’s kept me successful is being myself. I only know how to do that. This world is so big and it can be so confusing at times that you tend to forget and you tend to be so indented or tainted by society and the only thing that’s kept me going is being myself. And the minute you learn to love yourself you would not want to be anybody else.”
The “Bad Girl” continued, cracking a joke that “role model” is not a title she gets often but this award came with some real significance.
“Tonight is so important to me because I think I can inspire a lot of young women to be themselves and that is half the battle,” she said. “That is it. Just be yourself, it’s the easiest thing to be. All girls rock. Black girls, we just on another level.”
Watch her full speech here: