BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday July 13, 2012 – A sad and subdued Rihanna stepped out of the spotlight and became just another grieving mourner on Tuesday when she joined family and friends in Barbados to bid a fond farewell to her beloved grandmother Clara “Dolly” Brathwaite.
Outside, the sun shone brightly, but the mood was sombre at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Bridgetown where the funeral service focused on a woman loved and respected by all and described as the fabric that held her family together.
Eschewing the trappings of stardom, Rihanna, accompanied by her cousin Noella Alstrom, arrived at the church at the wheel of a rented grey Suzuki. The only hint of her celebrity status was evinced by a large contingent of foreign and local security.
Modestly attired in a knee-length black dress with a high neckline, the international recording star teamed the outfit with matching accessories. She later traded her designer shoes for sneakers to walk across the lawns for the committal in the Summit Gardens of Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens in the south of the island.
At the church, Rihanna tearfully placed a final kiss on her grandmother’s cheek before funeral director James Wilson closed the lilac and bronze metal casket. She later joined her cousins to sing Farewell, I’m Going To Miss You.
The deceased’s son, former calypsonian Daddy Iroy now turned gospel singer, also paid musical tribute with the song Show Me Your Glory.
Another son, Lester Brathwaite, spoke of a mother who was “the fabric that held her family together with constant prayer”. Clara Brathwaite’s daughter Dr. June Robinson described her late mother as “a woman of God”.
The funeral service was led by Sister Andria Grosvenor, while Pastor Vincent Wood focused on world peace in a message that stressed the importance of including Jesus Christ in any attempts to achieve such.
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, Minister of Commerce and Trade Senator Haynesley Benn, Barbados Tourism Authority CEO David Rice and chairman Adrian Elcock were among the congregation, which also included Jay Brown, founder of Roc Nation, the label with which Rihanna records.