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FACT CHECK: Did Rihanna say she’s originally Igbo?

FACT CHECK: Did Rihanna say she’s originally Igbo?
August 19
07:43 2021

A report, which claimed Rihanna, the Barbadian singer, said she is originally an Igbo woman recently surfaced online and went viral.

“My mum told me that I’m originally an Igbo woman. Igbo is a tribe in Africa,” she was quoted to have said. 

The quote was circulated on various blogs and social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

On the Facebook page of Daily Times Nigeria, for instance, the quote garnered over 19,000 likes, 7,000 comments and 2,500 shares.


Some social media users have also reacted to the claim.

“It’s good when someone knows where he/she from I’m originally an Igbo woman, #Rihanna reveals,” a Twitter user wrote.


“We her kinsmen have always known this. I had earlier mentioned this in one of my interviews…on June 12 2012 during the burial of my Mother. Rihanna is from our ancestral lineage in Amangwu Ohafia, in Abia State. This is a known fact,” another user wrote.


Similarly, a user wrote: “#Biafrans we have people all over.”




Checks by TheCable showed there was no credible source where the 33-year-old singer and entrepreneur made the claim. The music star did not grant any interview where she made the remark. 

Further checks on her social media accounts — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — showed she did not post the viral claim attributed to her.


TheCable also found out that mainstream media platforms such as The Nation and Daily Post, which also published the claim, have deleted the report as seen here and here.

Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Fenty, was born to Monica Braithwaite, an Afro-Guyanese, and Ronald Fenty, Afro-Barbadian with Irish descent.

In a 2019 interview with the New York Times, Rihanna, who recently became a billionaire, reflected on her ancestry.

“In my own household, my father is half black, half white. My mom is black from South America. I was seeing diversity. That’s all I knew,” she had said.

A look at her family tree also shows that there is no evidence that the singer has a Nigerian origin as suggested by the viral report.

VERDICT: The viral report quoting Rihanna as saying she is originally an Igbo woman is false. 

This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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  1. Eminent Kachi
    Eminent Kachi August 19, 12:50

    How are sure that Rihanna is truly an igbo woman

    Reply to this comment
  2. Oley
    Oley August 20, 11:52

    Thank You @theCable for this revealing Information, I’m surely signing up for your newsletters for as long as relievable posts like this keeps coming.

    As a full blown Igbo Man and a Big Fan of Rihanna (Robyn Fenty), this Fake news of Her being an Igbo woman was rather disturbing to my ears. I am very happy that she is not in any way a Nigerian.

    Reply to this comment

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