Ride with Rihanna Dizzying 7-day Trip
Bill Reed | 12/5/2012, 11:44 a.m.
By William Reed
Lady in the Sky with Diamonds
Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shining bright like a diamond
We're beautiful like diamonds in the sky
- Diamonds by Rihanna
Why did one of the world's biggest pop stars feel the need to host a weeklong party in the sky? The enterprise may have been a fool's errand from the onset. Some of the 250 journalists and fans who accepted the invitation to join Rihanna's 777 Tour - a seven-day, seven-city adventure now find themselves miffed by the trip's "general disorganization" and her "diva-like behavior."
For the journalists, fans and entourage along for the ride with Rihanna via Delta 777 jet it was a dizzying seven-day trip as the princess of pop played seven concerts in seven cities in seven different countries in seven days to promote her seventh album, "Unapologetic." "Unapologetic" is Rihanna's seventh studio album, the November 2012 777 Tour introduced the new single, "Diamonds" at venues in Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London and New York City.
The tour gained renown for its promotion objectives. The 777 Tour's passengers were deprived of sleep, food and sunlight. After flying 15,000 miles in a week, "Did you sleep?" became the standing joke among journalists. Many members of the press were upset that Rihanna had been unavailable for much of anything offstage. One particularly despondent Australian shock-jock streaked naked through the plane in protest. The new pop diva racked up heavy fines for late departures at airports along the trek. Her dedication to after-parties resulted in flights often being delayed. P DIDDY turned up at the tour's Paris after-party.
Since arriving on the international scene in 2005, the young Barbadian pop star has made a big impact on the music industry. If you don't know her, Rihanna has an estimated net worth of $72 million. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, her career began when in 2003 a friend introduced her to Evan Rodgers, a producer from New York, who was in Barbados on vacation with his wife, an island native.
Rodgers arranged for her to go to New York to meet CEO of Def Jam Records, Jay-Z. Jay-Z heard her sing and signed her when she was 16. Her first album, "Music of the Sun" in 2005, mixed reggae-tinged pop with slick R&B grooves and sold over a million copies. Her second album, "A Girl Like Me," included the upbeat single "S.O.S." and was released in 2006. Forbes calls Rihanna their "fourth most powerful celebrity." She's made her millions in various ways. She's sold more than 25 million albums and earned the title of Digital Song Artist of the decade from Billboard. She's also nabbed endorsement deals with Reebok, Vita Coco, Nivea, Clinique and Secret deodorant. Her fragrance, Reb'l Fleur, adds millions more to her coffers, as does her heavy touring schedule that included more than 85 shows in 2011-2012. She has more than 53 million Facebook followers.
She dated R&B singer Chris Brown until February of 2009, when she called police and accused him of beating her in their car after a pre-Grammy Awards party. Brown later pleaded guilty to a charge of felony assault in exchange for a sentence of five years of probation. Some claim Rihanna and Brown are dating again.
"Diamonds" is a Def Jam Recordings/Universal single. It's a classic-sounding tune, that features a catchy hook, uplifting lyrics, and "wow" vocals. "Diamonds" is part of the "Unapologetic" album offering, which the New York Times calls "Icy Hot and Steely-Strong." The music incorporates pop, electronic dance music, and dubstep styles. Upon its release, "Unapologetic" received generally positive reviews. The album was described as contemporary, with many songs' productions praised, though there was criticism for Rihanna's vocals and the album's rushed nature. "Diamonds" reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
The 777 Tour successfully focused attention and anticipation on Rihanna's sixth official concert tour, the Diamonds Tour starts in the U.S. in March 2013.
(William Reed is publisher of "Who's Who in Black Corporate America" and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org)