Rihanna Tried to Play a Free Show in Baltimore Surrounding the Freddie Gray Protests


In support of the protests that followed the homicide of Freddie Gray, and the spirit of uprising and refusal to accept the unjust status quo of institutional racism, Prince played a Rally4Peace concert in Baltimore in May. It saw a massive turnout and was said to have brought much-needed “joy” and “healing” to Baltimore residents, but another performer had tried to do the same, and her attempt was seemingly denied.

According to an email exchange reported by The Baltimore Sun, Rihanna tried to arrange to perform a free concert for the city during the protests, and had also expressed an interest in marching with the protesters. The email exchange happened on May 1 between Rihanna’s representative and an officer with the Baltimore Police, through whom the pop star was trying to arrange security. The officer passed on the requests to the head of media relations of the Baltimore Police, describing the representative’s email:

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)….[The representative] stated that they had hoped to secure some extra police security and was directed by the Governor’s office to seek assistance through Communications.

This news then allegedly travelled through the higher-ups (including former police commissioner Anthony Batts), and was brought up in a situation report that suggests the police would have precluded any such performance, saying that there was “no permit so it will not be allowed.”