IVORY COAST, Africa, Wednesday January 2, 2013 – After jetting back from her Barbados homeland to spend Christmas with Chris “Breezy” Brown in the United States, international recording star Rihanna was soon flying high again, this time to accompany Brown to the Ivory Coast where he performed at a glitzy awards ceremony in Abidjan.
The American R&B star was the headline act at the prestigious Kora Awards, widely regarded as the “African Grammys”, which salute musical achievements from across the continent.
Originally slated for Saturday, the event was hastily postponed to Sunday, with organiser Ernest Adjovi initially blaming a missed flight by Brown for the delay. Adjovi nevertheless later conceded that heavy rains and other logistical difficulties were responsible for the postponement.
Previous Kora Awards ceremonies have been attended by such luminaries as iconic South African anti-apartheid champion Nelson Mandela and legendary “King of Pop”, the late Michael Jackson.
Brown, 23, was also billed as the star attraction at a “Peace for Africa” concert at an Abidjan stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Other headliners at that event included the Nigerian duo P-Square, winner of the last top Kora award in Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou in 2010.
The 2012 Kora Awards were staged at a luxury hotel and represented a return to normalcy for Ivory Coast, which is still recovering from months of post-election violence that claimed thousands of lives before abating in 2011.
The awards nevertheless drew fire over the price of admission, with tickets for the ceremony costing one million CFA francs (US$2,000) a pop.
Meanwhile, Rihanna and Breezy should be thanking their lucky stars, having narrowly missed a catastrophic New Year’s Eve stampede following a fireworks display in Abidjan that left at least 60 dead and more than 200 injured. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)