Rihanna held her second annual Diamond Ball Thursday night at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar, where distinguished guests and celebrities including Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Zendaya and Kylie Jenner gathered to raise over $3 million for the recording artist’s charity Clara Lionel Foundation.
The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) funds projects that improve the quality of life for communities around the world and was founded by Rihanna in 2012 in honor of her grandparents, whom she said encouraged a family dynamic that valued caring for and helping one another.
“That’s what I want to do for my global family, too, with a focus on health, education, art and culture,” said Rihanna of the foundation’s mission. “One penny at a time, one donation at a time, one country at a time, one child at a time — we’re going to make a difference.”
CLF spokesperson Towalame Austin took to the stage to highlight the foundation’s successes — including the continued growth of a free medical center in Rihanna’s native Barbados — and to announce CLF’s latest charitable venture: a scholarship program for college students around the world.
“Simply stated, we want to offer opportunity,” said Austin.
The black tie fundraising event was hosted by comedian Kevin Hart and featured a live auction, for which interested bidders were given cut-outs of Rihanna’s face to use as bidding cards. Keeping guests entertained throughout the night, Hart launched the fundraiser with a $50,000 personal donation and later felt inclined to impersonate an auctioneer during the live auction.
The auction included tickets to the New York Fashion Week launch of Rihanna’s Puma collection, artworks by Roy Nachum — who designed the artwork for Rihanna’s new album — and Jeff Koons, a replica of the couture Dior gown she was wearing for the event and a guitar autographed by Bono, which sold for the highest bid of the night at $75,000. Following the auction Hart announced that the benefit had raised more than $3 million, surpassing the 2014 total of $2 million.
The event also honored Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino. Rihanna presented him with the inaugural diamond honors award for his charitable efforts and donation to CLF.
The night concluded with a special four-song performance by music legend Lionel Richie.
“I’m sure that everybody in here has a favorite Lionel Richie song, right?” said Rihanna before inviting the singer-songwriter to the stage.
The set list included “Running With the Night,” “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” “Hello” — for which he intro’d by announcing, “There’s a song I need to reclaim” — and, of course, his 1983 hit single “All Night Long.”