Grammys Flashback '08: Rihanna Gets Special Call

By ROBERT PACE

January 31, 2013

There have been a few Barbadian natives and people with Barbadian descent to become stars over the years, but none have reached the cosmic heights of Rihanna. In 2008, the singer soared into the stratosphere with her first Grammy win, which sent her native Barbados into a frenzy.

Barbados has had successful entertainment personalities like musicians Grandmaster Flex and Doug E. Fresh, and also has star lineage if we include the Barbadian descent of LL Cool J, Cuba Gooding Jr., and even Gwyneth Paltrow.

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For some perspective, the island in The Lesser Antilles has a population of less than 288,000 (roughly the same as St. Paul, Minn.) and is a mere 166 square miles, which is small enough to fit nearly three times over in the city of Los Angeles alone.

Therefore, it's a collective celebration when triumph comes to Barbadian stars.

Only one Barbadian musician had won a Grammy prior to Rihanna (Jimmy Senya Haynes, Steel Pulse), so when she won for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella," Barbados erupted and then-Prime Minister David Thompson gave the singer a phone call to applaud her achievement.

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"Everybody's excited. The Prime Minister just called and congratulated me," she tells ET's former correspondent Mark Steines backstage. "It's so awesome. Everybody at home was just screaming. I cannot believe we did it."

Barbados would have plenty of reasons for celebration in the years to come, as Rihanna has won the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration award twice more ("Run This Town," "All of the Lights") and also won Best Dance Recording for "Only Girl (In the World)."

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Now with four Grammys and a streak of three consecutive years with an award, the Barbadian singer has another opportunity to bring celebration back to her native island with nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance ("Where Have You Been"), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ("Talk That Talk") and Best Short Form Music Video ("We Found Love").



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