According to the Baltimore Sun, the Roc Nation mega-icon planned on performing a free concert in Baltimore following the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. She also wanted to march with protestors for the cause, until her effort was ceased by Baltimore Police over a permit. One of Ri-Ri’s reps was in contact with the head of media relations at the police department, a message dated back to May 1 showed, where it explained that she wanted to perform and march with protestors. In order to dodge some of the press that was sure to impede, she also intended to arrive to the city by train or car.
The message flittered through the digital grapevine, landing in the inbox of then police commissioner Anthony Batts and one of the mayor’s spokesman, Kevin Harris. However, a situation including the “American Oxygen” singer’s wishes suggested that police may have thwarted her attempts to aid the city in its socially-activated voice, as an update read that police claim not to have a permit for the possible performance. “No time given. Police are claiming they have no permit so it will not be allowed,” it read.
Though Charm City wasn’t quite able to be charmed by Rihanna, Prince did make an appearance at the Royal Arena during the protests on May 10. At the “Rally 4 Peace” concert, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and Beyonce also showed face. Giving more voice to the police brutality case involving Gray and six Baltimore officers, the multitalented, multi-genred pop-funk sensation performed a song addressing the unrest in the area titled “Baltimore.”