19 Magnificent Tattoos Sported by Rihanna And What They Mean

Written by Jyotsana Rao

Rihanna or Riri is not only considered an amazing singer and musician but is also known as an icon for women empowerment. She is expressive, bold, and fierce, and her love for body art shows the same.

She has often admitted her absolute love for tattoos, saying that they are intriguing. Her tattoos are inspired by different cultures across the globe. Rihanna has got over 25 tattoos over the years, and Bang Bang, a tattoo artist, has done most of them.

Check out 19 of her most popular tattoos with their meanings.

Rihanna’s Tattoos And What They Mean

1. Henna-Inspired Hand Tattoo


When it comes to Rihanna’s tattoos, perfection is inevitable. According to sources, she was unhappy with her tribal Maori tattoo near the thumb that she got done in New Zealand. So, she decided to mix it up with an enchanting mandala design, covering her entire forehand and wrist. It is an abstract motif inspired by Indian henna art. She flew Bang Bang to the Dominican Republic, especially for this. He, along with Cally-Jo, worked on the pattern.

2. Arabic Quote Tattoo

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Rihanna’s Arabic tattoo is placed on her lower left rib cage and says, “Al Hurria fi Al Maseeh.” It means “Freedom in God.” She is greatly motivated by culture practices around the world and is a religious individual, so this tattoo exhibits her spiritual side.

3. Roman Numerals Tattoo

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The story of Rihanna’s shoulder tattoo is a lesson in friendship and companionship. In June 2008, Rihanna got Melissa Forde’s (her best friend) birth date inked on her shoulder in Roman numerals. Melissa, who is also her manager, got Rihanna’s birth date tattooed in the same place. This is a great tattoo idea for anyone who wants to commemorate their friendship in a unique manner with their best friends.

[ Read: Best Prison Tattoos and Their Meanings ]

4. Egyptian Stomach Tattoo

badgalriri / Instagram

This is probably one of the most recognized designs in the history of chic tattoos, and when Rihanna’s wearing it, there’s no doubt that it looks even more spectacular. The large design spread right below her chest is a tattoo of the wingspan of the Egyptian goddess, Isis. Isis is regarded as an ideal mother and wife. This tattoo that she got inked at Soho, London, is a tribute to her late grandmother, Dolly.

[ Read: Best Breast Tattoo Designs ]

5. Gun Tattoo

badgalriri / Instagram

Apparently, Rihanna flew her tattoo artist, Bang Bang, to Los Angeles from New York to get a birthday tattoo for her friend. Later, she decided to get one for herself as well. The artist suggested getting a small handgun that would look good on her because of her badass personality. Well, it didn’t come easy because this tattoo was mired in controversies, with people saying it glorifies and promotes violence. However, Bang Bang defended the creation, saying that Rihanna’s tattoo of the gun actually represents power and strength. While she wanted the gun above her armpits, Bang Bang suggested a little more subtle placement on the side of her rib cage.

[ Read: Awesome Gun Tattoo Designs ]

6. Falcon Ankle Tattoo

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In June 2012, Rihanna decided to cover up her music notes tattoo, replacing it with a rather sizeable Egyptian falcon. It could have been inspired by a display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Bang Bang is known to do most of his work. She shared a picture of her tattoo on Twitter along with the caption, “Falcon: a light that shines in the darkness! Never close their eyes during sleep.” Rihanna’s tattoo on the ankle of the falcon looks like a handgun.

[ Read: Gorgeous Ankle Tattoo Designs ]

7. Star Tattoos On The Neck


Another Bang Bang creation, Rihanna’s star tattoo is one of the most visible tattoos. It consists of a trail of stars that cascades down to her neck and back. Initially, it started off as a bunch of stars on her neck, matching her ex Chris Brown’s tattoo that he wears behind his ear. However, later, she had Bang Bang add more stars that extend down her back in New York, turning it into an iconic pattern that many can take inspiration from.

8. Sanskrit Prayer On Her Hip

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In 2007, Rihanna got a Sanskrit prayer from the Sanatana Dharma done on her hip. It translates to “forgiveness, honesty, suppression, and control.” Unfortunately, this one was misspelled, and it actually says, “Long-suffering, truthfulness, self-restraint, inward calm, fear, and fearlessness.”

9. Rebelle Fleur On Her Neck

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As you can see here, Rihanna got a neck tattoo with the text “rebelle fleur,” again a Bang Bang creation. But people pointed out that it should rather be “fleur rebelle” to be grammatically correct. The artist defended his tattoo, saying that it translated to ‘rebel flower’ not ‘rebellious flower’ as one might presume.

10. Skull On Her Ankle

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Rihanna’s tattoo on the ankle is her only colored ink till date. It was done in Miami in 2008. As you see in the image, the skull is placed on her left ankle. The red and pink bow on it makes the skull seem more feminine, soft, and sweet.

[ Read: Beautiful Skull Tattoos For Women ]

11. “Love” On Her Finger

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Rihanna can make a simple ‘love’ tattoo look edgy and chic. This tattoo is written in cursive and is located on the side of the middle finger of her left hand. There isn’t a lot known about her inspiration behind this tattoo, but we know that she picked this one up in L.A. in 2008.

12. “Shhh” On Her Finger


This one is an intriguing design chosen by the singer. The ‘Shhh” text is placed on the index finger of her right hand, and she got it in June 2008. Rihanna’s finger tattoo has been copied by a bunch of people over time. It is said that this tattoo inspired Lily Allen and Lindsay Lohan as well.

[ Read: Best Finger Tattoo Designs With Meanings ]

13. Cross On Her Wrist

badgalriri / Instagram

Rihanna’s wrist tattoo is an intricate and elaborate cross design, which is again done by her go-to artist, Bang Bang. It is done on the underside of her wrist. This tattoo symbolizes her faith in God, and the singer got it done in the artists’ studio in New York in January 2014.

14. Music Notes On Her Foot


The first-ever tattoo that Rihanna got was in 2006 to mark her brand new singing career. She aptly got music notes done on the inside of her right foot. The two notes are the sixteenth note and a treble clef, which were inspired by her love for music and the importance it holds in her life. Rihanna’s foot tattoo was later covered up by a falcon design by Bang Bang in June 2012.

15. Tibetan Phrase On Her Butt

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The lower back tattoo or butt tattoo of the singer is a Tibetan word for “lover.” Although Rihanna hasn’t disclosed what the tattoo means to her and the reason behind getting it inked, people believe that it is a tribute to the people in her life that she loves and the ones who love her.

16. Tribal Design On Her Hand

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While on tour in New Zealand, Rihanna experienced getting inked with the traditional Maori ‘stick and poke’ technique, and it was no piece of cake. This technique is more painful and slower than the regular tattooing technique that is done using electric equipment. It is a tribal dragon claw design representing aroha (or love) and mana (or strength) and matches Chris Brown’s (her ex-boyfriend) tattoo on the same hand.

17. Pisces Symbol Behind Her Ear


This is a pretty simple design. Pisces is her zodiac sign. It was made by a famous Brazil tattoo artist who gets bookings done almost three years in advance. Luckily enough, he was present in Tokyo the same time she was visiting, and she got it done then and there.

18. Egyptian Queen Tattoo

badgalriri / Instagram

During a photoshoot with Terry Richardson in January 2012, Rihanna showed off her new tattoo – the bust of the Egyptian queen, Nefertiti. The tattoo is placed on the side of her rib cage. ‘Nefertiti’ translates to ‘a beautiful woman has come.’ There were a lot of titles associated with the queen, like, Great of Praises, Lady of Grace, Sweet of Love, and the Hereditary Princess.

19. “Never a failure, always a lesson” On Her Chest

badgalriri / Instagram

Rihanna is highly inspired by art and spirituality. She combines both of these concepts in this tattoo, suggesting it to be a self-motivational piece that is supposed to be her life mantra. The quote, “Never a failure, always a lesson,” is written backward on the right side of her chest so that she can read it right in the mirror. This tattoo is an inspiration to many.

Rihanna is a confident and talented personality, and she expresses herself beautifully with the amazing tattoo designs she sports. Anyone looking for inspirational, badass, and powerful tattoo ideas can take a leaf or two from Rihanna’s tattoo designs and get themselves a kickass tattoo. Which one did you like the best? Let us know in the comments section below.

[ Read: Precautions For After Getting A Tattoo ]

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Jyotsana Rao is an engineering graduate from NIT, Nagpur, who discovered her love for writing during her undergraduate days. She is passionate about writing about everything related to beauty - makeup, fashion, hairstyles, skin care, or hair care. When this social media junkie isn't stalking the world of fashion and glamour, she loves spending her time traveling.