Last week, the Caribbean island of Barbados elected Mia Mottley, its first-ever female prime minister. Pop star Rihanna has voiced support for Mottley twice now via Instagram — once before the election and again after Mottley’s victory. Mottley noticed and later thanked Rihanna for all her “love, support and blessings.”
Mia Mottley ran as a candidate of the left-center Barbados Labour Party. During her campaign, some of her political opponents accused her of secretly being a lesbian and wanting to legalize same-sex marriage, accusations meant to stoke political tensions amongst conservative voters.
When Rihanna’s longtime friend Leandra Goodridge posted an Instagram image expressing support for Mottley before the election, Rihanna replied, “Yeeeeeessssss… She deserves it!”
After Mottley won the election, Rihanna posted an Instagram image of Mottley and a caption stating, “Say hello to my new prime minister and most importantly the FIRST FEMALE prime minister of Barbados
… the honorable Prime Minister @mamottley???????????????????????? well deserved and about time! breaking barriers and making history in so many ways!!! Congratulations ? ??”
Barbados has zero LGBTQ rights, but has a supportive population nonetheless
If Mottley is interested in improving LGBTQ equality in Barbados, she’ll have her work cut out for her. The country, like so many other former colonies ruined by the British, has an anti-sodomy law on its books punishing same-sex sexual encounters with life in prison. Furthermore, the country grants no civil rights to its LGBTQ citizens.
In fact, in 2016, a Canadian news outlet reported that over 300 gay and lesbian adults from Barbados have sought asylum in Canada to avoid persecution in their home country.
Despite this, a 2016 poll found that 67% of the Barbadian population describes itself as “tolerant” or “accepting” of homosexuals and 82% of Barbadians oppose anti-gay discrimination.
Also, thanks to a recent ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Barbados is among 20 Central and South American countries that must legalize same-sex marriage (or at least confer the legal rights associated with it) in the near future.
Rihanna’s history of progressive political action
In 2017, Rihanna was honored as the Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year, and it’s not hard to see why.
At the time, Bloomberg reported, “[Rihanna] built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer in her home nation of Barbados. She created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program — named for her grandparents — for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries. She also supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project to provide children with access to education in more than 60 developing countries.”
In addition to that impressive roster, Rihanna has also called out Snapchat for making a joke of domestic violence, spoken out against U.S. President Donald Trump’s racist Muslim travel ban, has criticized the use of trans women as a ”convenient marketing tool,” took an HIV test with British Prince Henry to highlight testing in Barbados, helped a gay fan come out and has been called “a gay Illuminati witch” by a conservative group who wants to ban her from Senegal.