Does anyone in Houston, besides myself, feel a little dissed by Rihanna up to this weekend?
Here we are six years, five studio albums, 34 singles (10 of which reached the top of the charts) and nearly seven million albums sold (U.S.) into Rihanna's fast-rising career and she has yet to ever make it to Bayou City for a concert. When the Loud Tour (named for her most recent platinum-plus album) touches down at the Toyota Center on Saturday night it will be the debut for Lil's Ms. "Love The Way You Lie" in the fourth largest city in the United States.
(Now, before sending me hate comments proclaiming, "Rihanna has been to Houston! She made a surprise 2 a.m. appearance at Hush Nightclub four years ago to yell 'Wassup Houston?' at the crowd before disappearing into a VIP room ..." let me retort by saying ... that ain't a concert. That is a paid appearance probably pulled together because she missed a connecting flight at Hobby Airport and had to stay the night in town. It doesn't count.)
Why so little love for H-Town, Rihanna? Lady Gaga has practically made Houston her second home over the last couple years and it has served her well. Even when she fell off her piano mid-performance we gave her love.
I kid, of course. The truth is, it's better late than never to welcome the current reigning R&B starlet to town. Rihanna's show is also the unofficial kickoff to a month of diva-dom at the Toyota Center that includes Britney Spears on July 13 and Katy Perry on July 29. South Beach night club in Montrose might as well shutter its doors for the next few weeks. Few young artists have as frenzied a following in the gay community as the three queens.
Rihanna, however, might be the most special of the bunch. In addition to her exotic upbringing in Barbados, her unusual beauty (despite that hair which is a cross between Raggedy Ann and a Phyllis Diller wig) the fact is this country has lacked a true African-American singing/dancing diva since the days of Diana Ross and Motown in the '60s. With all due respect to Gloria Gaynor and Alicia Keys, Rihanna's arrival — in Houston and in pop music — was long overdue.
So get out to Toyota Center on Saturday and sing along to your favorite Rihanna hits: "S &M," "Only Girl (In The World)," "What's My Name?" "Rude Boy," and, of course, "Umbrella" ('ella... 'ella....).
Let her know that we want her back before she sells another seven million albums.
Rihanna, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Center