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Rihanna Gives Speech to Parsons Fashion Students: 'You're Up Next'

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The pop star was honored for being both a humanitarian and style icon. 

Last night, Rihanna was honored by Parsons School of Design for her work as both a humanitarian and style icon. For the event, Rih wore an oversized menswear-inspired look from Parsons alumnus Matthew Dolan, which he designed custom for her. She accessorized the slouchy, tan suit with diamonds, white heels, a Cruella DeVille-style clutch and wet, wavy hair--validation for her fashionable award.

Rih's speech empowered the students that sat before her, as she declared, "I don't think you get celebrated enough." She continued, "You should be celebrated for every aspect of your growth and your growing pains. You should be celebrated for your creativity, for your fearlessness, your persistence and your determination."

thank you @parsonsschoolofdesign for a lovely evening, and for honoring us!

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

She emphasized the importance of building up our youth, rather than tearing them down, saying, "You are all the next generation. We need to invest in you. At the end of the day, our future is in their hands."

As part of Rihanna's speech, the pop star announced winners of Parson's partnership with Donna Karan, who will be creating a collection for Rih's own non-profit, Clara Lionel Foundation, which funds education and health across the globe. The winning Parsons graduates will be flown to Haiti to collaborate with local designers on behalf of Karan.

"I'm here to say that I'm listening," Rih concluded. "I'm watching and you're up next." Watch a snippet, below.

Earlier this year, Rih was also recognized by Harvard as the University's "Humanitarian of the Year," where they honored her charitable presence in the Caribbean. There, the Anti singer funded a new center for oncology and nuclear medicine, located in her home country of Barbados. "We're all human and we all just want a chance," Rih said during her speech. "A chance at life, a chance at an education, a chance at a future, really."

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