During the height of the citywide protests in Baltimore ignited by the police custody death of Freddie Gray, celebrities and entertainers showed their support in a variety of ways. Pop superstar Rihanna attempted to host a concert in the city in support of the protests, but the performance never materialized.
The Baltimore Sun wrote about the proposed concert Monday night (July 27), and shared details of the correspondence between Rihanna’s management team and the Baltimore Police Department. According to the report, the concert didn’t go as hoped because Rihanna didn’t obtain a permit to perform on Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue, which sat at the heart of the protests.
More from the Baltimore Sun:
In a message dated May 1 sent to Capt. Eric Kowalczyk, then the head of media relations for Baltimore Police, an officer outlines a conversation he had with a representative for the singer.
The representative “advised that Rihanna wants to walk with the protesters as well as perform a free concert,” the officer wrote. “He added that she will be arriving by plane and in an effort to divert press/media she will be traveling to the city by train (or by car if necessary).
“[He] stated that they had hoped to secure some extra police security and was directed by the Governor’s office to seek assistance through Communications.”
An officer who was carbon copied on the email forwarded it to Anthony Batts, who was then the police commissioner. Kowalczyk also passed the message along to Kevin Harris, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
On May 10, Prince performed in the city’s Royal Farms Arena in a joint simulcast with Jay Z’s TIDAL service. Prince penned a song for Freddie Gray, which he performed at the concert.