Billionaire donors Laura and John Arnold support far more in Maryland than police surveillance
Editorial

Rihanna wanted to play free concert in Baltimore, walk with protesters

Rihanna wanted to play in Baltimore after riots. Here's what we know.

Rihanna, the R&B megastar, wanted to come to Baltimore in the week after rioting broke out to walk with protesters and perform a free concert, emails released Monday show.

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.

The possible concert was also mentioned in a situation report dated May 1 and indicates police might have stopped any attempt at holding a show.

"Possible Rihanna Concert at Penn & North," the update reads. "No time given. Police are claiming they have no permit so it will not be allowed."

The representative for Rihanna identified in the emails did not respond to a request for comment.

In the end, Prince played a show at the Royal Farms Arena on May 10 and performed a song he wrote about the unrest in Baltimore. A livestreaming company backed by rapper and music business executive Jay-Z broadcast part of the concert.

During the unrest, Rihanna posted a picture taken by Baltimore photographer Devin Allen of a black police officer with tear-filled eyes to her Instagram. Her only comment was an emoji with a tear falling down its cheek.

iduncan@baltsun.com

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