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Rihanna Praises Young Fashion Designers In An Inspiring Speech

‘We often tear our youth down when we should be building them up’

Last night, Rihanna was honored at Parsons School of Design's annual benefit for her contributions as both a musician and style icon, as well as her humanitarian efforts. Her acceptance speech was full of glowing praise for the future generation of fashion designers.

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“I don’t think you get celebrated enough,” she said. “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 ... for being different, for not being given enough credit. For not having to use eye cream.”

As if having Rihanna praise the students' youthful skin wasn't enough encouragement to last a lifetime, she continued, "We often tear our youth down when we should be building them up. You are all the next generation. We need to invest in you.”

The singer also announced the launch of a design fellowship which will send three Parsons design students to Port-au-Prince this summer to work with local artists on a merchandise line that will benefit Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation.

“I’m here to say that I’m listening, I’m watching, and you’re up next,” she concluded as, I imagine, the crowd burst into tears of joy.

This is the second time Rihanna's been honored by a prestigious university this year alone, the first being when she accepted Harvard's Humanitarian of the Year award with an iconic ponytail flip.