Rihanna raises over $5 million at the third Diamond Ball
On Thursday night, reigning queen of, well, everything Rihanna hosted her third Diamond Ball in downtown New York. A charity gala raising money for her Clara Lionel Foundation, which supports health and education initiatives currently in the Caribbean and Malawi, Rihanna was joined by the evening’s host Dave Chappelle and musical guests Kendrick Lamar and Calvin Harris for a glitzy night of stars — and big spenders.
Between the model-filled high-fashion red carpet, Chappelle’s unfiltered jokes and an energetic performance from Lamar, it was an evening of serious celebrity power. Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Leonardo DiCaprio, Trevor Noah, Cardi B, Future, Emily Ratajkowski and even Twitter’s Jack Dorsey (posted up at Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s table, no less) were just some of the stars studding the scene.
“I hope that as you hear about what we are doing and what we plan to do, you too will be inspired to join our mission,” Rihanna opened from the central stage. “And, of course, I hope the more you drink, the more inspired you’ll be to donate money.”
That plan seemed to work: the evening raised over $5 million, a decent chunk coming from the live auction. Chappelle even threw in his own silk pocket square and sunglasses to sweeten some of the deals. After former President Barack Obama delivered a glowing video message to Rihanna (“You’ve become a powerful force in the fight to give people dignity,” he told her), a trip to Chicago to meet with him and world leaders went for a whopping $275,000. Meanwhile, a single bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne signed by JAY-Z — about four gallons of bubbly — sold for $75,000. That’s one pricey future toast.
Chappelle kept the crowd tittering with his trademark politically incorrect humor and some sharp Trump impersonations. “It’s not checkers or chess. It’s Jenga, and that motherf—er is pulling all the middle blocks,” he quipped, voicing his view of the presidency’s precarious direction. The director of the Clara Lionel Foundation Justine Lucas also spoke about the work Rihanna’s charity is executing, including plans to invest in Hurricane Irma recovery. And one of the foundation’s honorees, Angeline Murimirwa, shared a touching story about her own climb from poverty to help lead the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), one of the foundation’s new partners.
To finish it off, Kendrick Lamar performed a 30-minute set before Calvin Harris, in a DJ booth high above the main floor, spun hits as the evening wound down. As guests like La La Anthony know, a Rihanna party is always worth attending.
“I never stop dancing, and my feet are throbbing the next day,” Anthony told TIME about the famously fun-loving star’s parties. “But this is an important thing that we’re at to give back, not just to the U.S. but to the world, which is why I wasn’t going to miss it for anything.”