During the Baltimore uprising that occurred after the death of Freddie Gray, various performers wanted to lend their voices in an effort to show solidarity with the residents of Baltimore and the protesters. Prince held a Freddie Gray benefit concert that raised money for various nonprofit organizations in Baltimore. But one singer attempted to put on a concert, and even protest with the city’s residents, but wasn’t allowed.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Rihanna contacted the city’s higher-ups in hopes of being able to put on a free concert for residents, as well as participate in protests. In emails between the former head of media relations for Baltimore Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk and an officer, dated May 1, a conversation was outlined about Rihanna’s request.
“Rihanna wants to walk with the protesters as well as perform a free concert,” the officer wrote. He added that she would be arriving by plane and, in an effort to divert press and media, she would be traveling to the city by train (or 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,” the emails went on to detail.
The concert was supposed to be held at Penn and North avenues, but Rihanna was not allowed to perform. Although there was no reason given as to why a permit wasn’t granted, one could assume it was because of the extra security from Baltimore police that would be needed.
In the end, Prince was the only artist who performed in Baltimore, and he subsequently raised $35,000 with the help of Tidal, which streamed the concert.