A Complete List of Rihanna’s Tattoos and The Stories Behind Them

Rihanna has proven her mettle and has become one of the most incredibly successful Barbadian singers in America. Since the inception of her music career, Rihanna has won several awards and made a fortune from her music career. Beyond that, the songstress is also crazy about tattoos. She has got many tattoos on different parts of her body. From her head to her legs, Rihanna’s tattoos are pretty unique and have interesting meanings.

Popularly known by her stage name Rihanna, the singer was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on 20 February 1988. Her aura of throwing caution to the wind has probably won her more fans worldwide. Although she works and plays hard, her unique style and attitude have tremendously influenced music lovers. She has won many hearts with her bangs, chokers, pixie cuts, and various outfits, such that many girls can now abandon their bras because of Rihanna.

What’s more, Rihanna’s tattoos have made her even more popular as she has inspired many who wants to get a tattoo. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a closer look at her long list of tattoos to understand their meaning and the stories behind them. Read on as we delve deeper into Rihanna’s tattoos below.

Overview of Rihanna’s Tattoos and Their Locations

Rihanna's tattoos 2

Rihanna’s Hand and Finger Tattoos

  • Henna Design on the Back of Her Hand
  • Chevron, Lines on the Back of Her Hand
  • Tribal Design on the Back of Her Hand
  • Cross on Her Wrist
  • Love on Her Finger
  • Shhh on Her Finger
  • Thug Life

Rihanna’s Chest Tattoos

  • Never a Failure Always a Lesson on Her Chest
  • Goddess Isis on Her Chest
  • Stars Down Her Back

Rihanna’s Shoulder Tattoos

  • Roman Numeral on Her Upper Shoulder
  • Cross on Her Collarbone
  • Pisces Tattoo on the Back of Her Ear
  • Rebelle Fleur on Her Neck
  • Arabic on Her Side
  • Nefertiti on Her Side
  • Gun on Her Side

Rihanna’s Hip Tattoos

  • Sanskrit on Her Hip
  • Tibetan on Her Butt

Rihanna’s Foot Tattoos

  • Music Notes on Her Foot
  • Falcon on Her Ankle
  • Shark on Her Ankle
  • 1988 on Her Ankle
  • Skull on Her Ankle

Rihanna’s Tattoos and Their Meanings

Rihanna’s love for tattoos is way out of this world, and at a glance, one would notice some of the inkings on various parts of her body. However, these inkings are not the regular, sloppy kind of tattoos, usually slapped on and misrepresented. From her head to toes, the songstress has different tattoos, which carry even more profound meanings. Celebrity tattoo artist Bang Bang did most of her tattoos, while Mark Mahoney and others did a few others. That said, below are Rihanna’s tattoos and their meanings.

1. Love Tattoo

  • Location: Middle finger of her left hand
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year inked: 2011

Rihanna's tattoos love

Riri got this tattoo in 2011. Although not much is known about the tattoo, it is written a simple cursive font on her right middle finger. The singer got it in Los Angeles from one of the artists she used before. However, she flaunts the beautiful artwork whenever she sticks up her middle finger or holds a microphone.

2. Shhh Tattoo

  • Location: Index finger of her right hand
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2008

Rihanna's tattoos finger

The singer got yet another tattoo on the index finger of her right hand. Regarded as her most copied tattoo, this Shhh tattoo was copied by other celebrities, including Lily Allen and Lindsay Lohan; albeit, they are not aware she had it. The idea behind it is that the tattoo will be revealed whenever you hold your hand to shush someone without saying the actual words. How clever!

3. Cross Tattoo

  • Location: Right wrist
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2014

Rihanna got Bang Bang to draw this Cross tattoo on her right wrist in January 2014. The design was made from negative space, surrounded by black ink. Riri also expanded the henna designs that were previously on the back of her arm all the way to meet the edges of the cross, making it one beautiful piece.

4. Thug Life Tattoo

  • Location: Knuckles
  • Artist: Mark Mahoney
  • Year inked: 2012

Rihanna got this semi-permanent tattoo on her knuckles in January 2012, and Mark Mahoney did it. The design, which reads “Thug Life,” was done as a tribute to legendary American rapper Tupac Shakur. The singer showed off this tattoo on Twitter, and afterward, it was faintly seen in photos. However, the tattoos appeared to have disappeared completely.

5. Tribal Design

  • Location: Back of Her Hand
  • Artist: Mark Mahoney
  • Year inked: 2008

Rihanna's tattoos dragon

In 2008, while on a music tour in New Zealand, Riri decided to go beyond the regular tattoos; hence, she opted for a traditional Maori tattoo, done using a mallet and chisel. The singer got the tattoo of a dragon claw on the back of her hand. The tattoo represents Aroha (meaning love) and Mana (meaning strength). Although it was excruciating, there’s no doubt Riri must have had a high threshold for pain.

6. Chevron Lines and Henna Design

  • Location: Back of Her Hand
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2013

Rihanna's tattoos henna

Inspired by the Indian henna art, this was a follow-up of the Maori traditional design the singer got inked at the back of her hands in 2008. The songstress got the tattoo in October 2013. Artists Cally-Jo and Bang Bang worked together on the design and implementation of this tattoo. Although she didn’t say what this tattoo signifies, her artist, Inia Taylor, says it means spiritual cleansing regarding her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown.

7. Never a Failure Always a Lesson on Her Chest

  • Location: Below Her Collar Bone
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2009

The songstress got yet another tattoo right under her collar bone. Done by Bang Bang, Riri said she got this tattoo inked in the reverse direction so she could read it in the mirror. More so, she said, “Never a Failure, Always a Lesson,” is her motto because in life, instead of considering things to be mistaken, you should consider them as lessons.

8. Goddess Isis Tattoo

  • Location: Chest
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year inked: 2012

Rihanna's tattoos on chest

In 2012, Rihanna wowed her fans when she displayed the tattoo of an Egyptian goddess on her chest. The tattoo is located under her mammary glands but directly under the chest. According to the songstress, it is a tribute to her late mother who died in July 2012 after a long battle with cancer. While showing off this new design, Riri wrote on Instagram, “Goddess Isis – Complete Woman-Model for future generations – #GranGrandolly – always in and on my heart #1love.”

9. Stars Tattoo

  • Location: Down Her Back
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2008

One of Rihanna’s most adorable tattoos, these stars of different sizes, was inked in 2008. Although it was started by a tattoo artist in Los Angeles when it was just on her neck. However, she later extended to her back through her favorite tattoo artist, Bang Bang. The initial stars match the three stars behind the ear of her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown.

10. Roman Numeral Tattoo

  • Location: Upper Left Shoulder
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year inked: 2008

Riri got the roman numeral tattoo inked on her left shoulder in June 2008. The XI-IV-LXXXVI tattoo was done in honor of her best friend and assistant Melissa, whose birth date is 11-4-86. Interestingly, Melissa also got the same tattoo with Rihanna’s birth date. The tattoo artist who inked the tattoo is unknown; albeit, it may be her favorite Bang Bang.

11. Cross Tattoo

  • Location: Left Collar Bone
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2012

This is the second cross tattoo the singer inked on her left collarbone. It was inked by Bang Bang in March 2012; however, the ink was mixed with water to make it light, like Rihanna’s other tattoos, including the Rebelle Fleur on her neck. The singer usually covers these tattoos with her necklace, but sometimes, she likes to show them off.

12. Pisces Tattoo

  • Location: Back of Her Right Ear
  • Artist: Brazilian Artist
  • Year inked: 2006

The Pisces tattoo was one of Rihanna’s first tattoos, which the singer inked behind her right ear. She got the tattoo in Tokyo in 2006, and it was done by a popular Brazilian tattoo artist. She was 17 years old when she got this tattoo, and the Pisces tattoo signifies the Diamond singer’s birth sign.

13. Rebelle Fleur Tattoo

  • Location: Neck
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2010

Rihanna got the Rebelle Fleur tattoo inked on her neck by Bang Bang in August 2010. According to the singer, Rebelle Fleur translates to Rebel Flower, not rebellious Flower, as many had earlier believed.

14. Arabic Quote Tattoo

  • Location: On Her Side
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year inked: 2011

Rihanna added to her tattoos when she got an Arabic tattoo in 2011. The Arabic quote “Al Hurria fi Al Maseeh,” translates to Freedom in God. It is said to be her fifth tattoo.

15. Egyptian Queen Nefertiti Tattoo

  • Location: On the Left Side of Her Ribcage
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year inked: 2012

Rihanna got the tattoo of Nefertiti inked on the left side of her ribcage in January 2012. She showed off the tattoo during a photoshoot with Terry Richardson in the same year. Although the meaning is unknown, the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti was seen as an icon of beauty. She was the Great Royal Wife of Pharoah, Akhenaten, and she had many other titles, including Great of Praises, Hereditary Princess, Sweet of Love, and Lady of Grace.

16. Handgun Tattoo

  • Location: On Her Side
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2009

The songstress got this tattoo inked by Bang Bang in Los Angeles in March 2009. Although the singer wanted a pair of handgun tattoos, Bang Bang later convinced her to go for a single handgun tattoo.

17. Sanskrit Tattoo

  • Location: Hip
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2007

Rihanna's Tattoos

Rihanna got the Sanskrit prayer running down her right hip inked in 2007. According to reports, the tattoo was supposed to be the translation of Sanatana Dharma’s quote, meaning “forgiveness, suppression, honesty, and control.” However, it was misspelled and is translated to long-suffering, self-restraint, truthfulness, inward calm, fear, and fearlessness. It is also said to be missing the remaining part of the original prayer, which translates to pleasure, birth, pain, and death.” More so, this was the first tattoo that introduced Rihanna to Artist Bang Bang, who later became her go-to tattoo artist.

18. Tibetan Script Tattoo

  • Location: Left Side of Her Butt
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2012

Rihanna's Tattoos

Rihanna got this Tibetan Script tattoo inked on her left butt in March 2012. The inscription means “Lover” in the English Language. This tattoo becomes very visible whenever she is seen on a bikini or any low waist attire.

19. Music Notes Tattoo

  • Location: Inside Her Right Foot
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2006

Rihanna got two music notes (treble clef and sixteenth note) tattooed inside her right foot in Australia in 2006, and it is one of her earliest tattoos. The singer showed it off during her performance at the Universal Music show in Australia. This tattoo is inspired by her music career, which was starting at the time. However, she kept this tattoo for a long time before covering it with a Falcon in 2012.

20. Falcon Tattoo

  • Location: Ankle
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2012

In 2012, Rihanna got an Egyptian Falcon tattooed on her ankle to cover the music notes she got in early 2006. The tattoo was inked by her favorite artist, Bang Bang, and she uploaded the picture of her new artwork on Instagram. According to the Diamond singer, when she was younger, she usually carved Falcons on the walls as a way of saying a king in the sky.

21. Shark Tattoo

  • Location: Left Ankle
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2016

One of Rihanna’s most recent tattoos, the camouflage-print shark, was inked on her left ankle by Bang Bang in September 2016. The significance of this tattoo is currently unknown, but it is one of Rihanna’s finest tattoos.

22. 1988 Tattoo

  • Location: Right Ankle
  • Artist: Bang Bang
  • Year inked: 2015

In August 2015, Rihanna got birth year boldly tattooed on her right ankle by her favorite tattoo artist Bang Bang. The singer was born on 20 February 1988. Bang Bang inked the art in his tattoo parlor in New York City.

23. Skull and Crossbones Tattoo

  • Location: Near Her Left Ankle
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year inked: 2008

During her stay in Miami in 2008, the Diamond singer got a skull and crossbones tattooed near her left ankle. This tattoo is widely believed to be the singer’s seventh tattoo. A skull and crossbones usually signify danger; however, Rihanna’s was neutralized by a pink hair bow the skull is wearing.

Did Rihanna and Drake Get Matching Tattoos?

Rihanna was previously in a relationship with Drake. The two began their relationship in 2009, shortly after the songstress broke up with Chris Brown. However, their relationship was fraught with several break-ups and make-ups. While things were still cool between them, the celeb couple took things up a notch by getting a matching camouflage shark tattoo in 2016. While Rihanna’s own can be seen on her ankle, the exact tattoo could be found on the inside of Drake’s arm.

Drake and Rihanna’s matching tattoos (Image Source)

According to the former lovers, their choice of the tattoo had a special significance between them, as during their time together, Rihanna went on a date with Drake where the rapper to her to an aquarium in Toronto and got her a stuffed animal shark. The tattoo was inked by the New York City celebrity tattoo artist Bang Bang, who shared a picture of the beautiful artwork to the admiration of his fans on Instagram. The duo finally called time on their relationship in October 2016.

Does Rihanna and Chris Brown Have Matching Tattoos?

Before Rihanna had a relationship with Drake, she had previously dated Chris Brown, and the duo made headlines severally. In 2008, they visited a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where they got matching but not identical tattoos. As a symbol of their love for each other, Chris Brown got stars inked behind his right ear, matching Rihanna’s, which runs down her neck and back.

Chirs Brown and Rihanna’s matching tattoos (though not identical) (Image Source)

However, that’s not the only matching tattoo the pair shares. Later in the same year, in November 2008, while performing in New Zealand, Rihanna and Chris Brown also got matching traditional tribal tattoos inked on their hands. Rihanna’s Maori hand tattoo signifies Aroha and mana, meaning love and strength. However, they are very similar to Brown’s. Though it was inked on the same hand, his includes a hibiscus flower.

More so, after their highly-publicized violent breakup in 2009, RiRi reportedly went to celebrity tattoo artist Bang Bang to add more stars to her neck tattoo to make it less matchy with that of Chris. Rihanna’s stars now extend down her neck and back, curving towards her right shoulder blade.

Ikenna Nwobodo
Ikenna has been writing or editing for multiple websites and publications for over 3 years, When he is not writing, he likes taking adventures, playing the piano or singing, and hanging out with friends.
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