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Rihanna raises $5million for charity as Rap superstars Unite for a Good Cause


Rihanna enlisted Pharrell Williams, DJ Khaled, 21 Savage, 2 Chainz, Offset, A$AP Rocky and Meek Mill for her annual Diamond Ball benefit gala.

“What an incredible time to be a fan of Rihanna,” Seth Meyers reflected. Of course, the audience that attended the pop star’s Fifth Annual Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street Friday night were comprised of more peers and businesspeople than hardcore fans. The response was still enthusiastic, even if the diehards were at home begging for album updates and worried that the reason why they loved Rihanna in the first place — her music career — has made it even harder to do their current duty as fans.

Rihanna’s non-musical ventures have equaled her musical success.Fenty Beauty has become a staple make-up line for professional and amateur enthusiasts. Her numerous fashion lines have made everyone pretend they can dress as cool as her. The size-inclusive Savage Fenty may have usurped Victoria’s Secret’s more narrow stranglehold on the lingerie industry, as proven by Savage’s thrilling New York Fashion Week shows. She even has a couture partnership with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, making her the first woman of color to be the head of LVMH maison.

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Even closer to Rihanna’s heart is the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF), her charity that funds “education and emergency response programs around the world” and most recently assisted the Bahamas in the face of Hurricane Dorian, supplying emergency grants for food and other resources.

As with every prior Diamond Ball, Rihanna challenges the entire system of typically white-bred galas. In the early evening, before the 500 attendees were seated downstairs, rappers like 21 Savage, 2 Chainz, Offset, A$AP Rocky and Meek Mill mingled over cocktails with shareholders and venture capitalists. Frank Ocean played over the speakers when the guests were finally invited to take their seats and begin the three-course meal. The theme was grassy and floral; some tables were covered with large, glittery umbrella-like structures. The centerpieces were mossy orbs and fresh pink roses sat in clear test tubes.

Meyers made his first appearance early, speaking highly of Rihanna and even more highly of drinking with Rihanna. Rihanna followed, clutching a folded white paper that she barely needed. She was omnipresent but refused to take up too much stage time, keeping her introductory speech short before ceding the stage to CLF executive director Justine Lucas.

Of course, the point tonight was to raise insane amounts of money. Two separate auctions were held, making available items like a 20-person trip to the Barbados complete with a submarine ride and three villas. (Sold twice for $275,000 each.) A Roc Nation VIP sports package that included tickets, meet & greets and four bottles of comically large bottles of luxury champagne (one was a cool 12 liters) sold for $105,000.

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Cardi B, a tough negotiator, ended up buying a 504-page, matte-black book about Rihanna and the accompany 2,000-pound, Haas Brothers marble pedestal it is meant to sit on for $111,000. Only nine other people in the world will own the same book.

During dessert, the foundation honored activist and journalist Shaun King alongside Barbados’ first female prime minister Mia Mottley. Mottley recalled her stint as the minister of education in the country while Rihanna was in school. Her speech was passionate and rousing, touching optimistically about the work that needed to be done on climate change and comparing it to JFK’s declaration that he would get a man on the moon before he knew how to do so. The second auction followed soon after, with a lightning round of donations ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 made to CLF without luxurious trips or pedestals attached.

The auctioneer announced that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey would match those donations, up to $1,000,000 as a boosted incentive.

Rihanna and Cardi B

21 Savage, Yo Gotti, and Meek Mill at Rihanna’s Diamond Ball. Photo credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Diamond Ball

DJ Khaled

Megan Thee Stallion at Rihanna’s Diamond Ball. Photo credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Diamond Ball

Read more from Rollingstone

My view: Rihanna looked flawless, real humanitarian.

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