Rihanna, the ultimate multi-tasking queen, capped off her whirlwind New York Fashion Week with a bang on Thursday night (Sep 14th). First, the Grammy-winning singer released her long-awaited cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty, on September 8 and was met with massive praise from both beauty critics and fans. Two days later, she debuted her spring 2018 Fenty x Puma runway collection with a crowd-pleasing, high-octane, motocross-themed show held at the Park Avenue Armory. And finally, at her third annual Diamond Ball on Thursday night, she shined bright like a diamond and helped raise nearly $1 million (and counting) for the Clara Lionel Foundation, a nonprofit named in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The ultra-glamorous black-tie affair drew Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Leonardo DiCaprio, Trevor Noah, Jamie Foxx, and more of the New York City A-list who weren’t too worn out by Fashion Week for one last party.
For Rihanna, creating the Clara Lionel Foundation five years ago has been one of her greatest accomplishments, and she says that through her grandparents, she has learned to become selfless.
“They’ve been my biggest role models in my life. They gave me a new perspective and taught me not to be selfish and to give back to people,“ Rihanna said inside the lavish ball held at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street. “My grandmother instilled in me a kind spirit to always help people. She’s very giving. My grandfather taught me to have a strong work ethic and that everyone can make a difference by helping each other. Creating this foundation is the most important thing I’ve done with my life. I love music, I love fashion, I love makeup, I love everything that I have done, but giving back is the most important and I want to help and make a difference in people’s lives.”
Dressed in a show-stopping black Ralph & Russo gown and wearing Chopard diamond jewelry, Rihanna attended the glitzy party with Lionel, her mother, Monica Braithwaite, and her extended family. (Clara died of cancer in 2012.) Comedian Dave Chappelle played the evening’s host and kicked off the soirée with some harsh zingers about Donald Trump. “The president is fucking up . . . the guy is falling apart at the seams. All his ideas sound like high-people ideas,” he said from the stage. “He’s playing all the wrong games. It’s not checkers or chess, this is Jenga, and that motherfucker is pulling all the middle blocks.”
During the event’s live auction, President Barack Obama delivered a taped message thanking Rihanna for her humanitarian work and offered guests the chance to meet him at the Obama Foundation’s Fall Summit in Chicago on November 1, where leaders from around the world will gather to share ideas. The winning bid came in at $275,000.
After the auction, Rihanna shouted out to the well-dressed crowd to gather near the stage to watch performer Kendrick Lamar rap some of his hit songs. Immediately after, Calvin Harris took the stage, which got Beyoncé and Jay-Z to hit the dance floor. Making their first red-carpet appearance since the birth of their twins, Rumi and Sir Carter, the couple were all smiles and shimmied together near the right side of stage past midnight. Beyoncé even did a few twirls while Jay-Z clapped for his wife. At one point, Harris played Jay-Z’s “Show Me What You Got” and Beyoncé sang along.
Harris, who has collaborated with Rihanna on a few songs, most notably on the 2011 hit song “We Found Love,” said he is proud to call Rihanna a friend.
“There’s a lot that I admire about her. It’s a combination between her longevity and how diverse she is in her career and how she’s committed to helping other people,” Harris said ahead of his performance on Thursday. “She’s really helping to make the world a better place in the best way that she can using her resources for such good, and that’s inspiring.”