The Diamond Ball is a yearly event which seeks to raise awareness about the Clara Lionel Foundation, an organization named for Rihanna’s deceased grandmother.
The Clara Lionel Foundation raises funds to promote global education and emergency response programs. This year the fifth annual Diamond Ball will honor controversial activist Shaun King and Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Rihanna’s home country.
“I can’t imagine a better night than this year’s Clara Lionel Foundation event with Seth Meyers, Pharrell and DJ Khaled,” Rihanna said in a statement obtained by Variety. “I am particularly honored to present Prime Minister Mottley and Shaun King with this year’s Diamond Ball Awards for their groundbreaking work. We are so thankful to them for joining us and making the night better than ever.”
But while the honorees of the past went unquestioned, the mention of King’s name stirred up a lot of emotion on Twitter. Since King’s rise to prominence on the back of the Black Lives Matter movement, he’s faced many challenges as his platform continues to expand.
Among the list of alleged offenses that King has faced on Twitter includes misreporting and plagiarism. However, earlier this year it was his bout with writer and activist Clarissa Brooks, who alleged that King misallocated funds raised for families affected by police brutality and discrimination, spurring a much-needed conversation about the ghosts of King’s past. King took to social media to publicly berate Brooks and also threatened legal action against her.
While he has since apologized, the vitriol between King and other prominent Black activists still runs deep. King has never been found guilty of the above mentioned offenses but the paper trial is glaring and is cause for alarm.
King made headlines this past week after he publicly scrutinized rapper Jay-Z over his recent social justice partnership with the NFL.
So when Twitter found out that King would be one of the ball’s honorees, all hell literally broke loose, reiterating the same concerns over King and how he made a name for himself in media. Similar rumblings occurred last year when King received the Humanitarian Hero Award at the 2018 BET Awards.
All eyes are now on Rihanna, who has remained silent regarding King’s selection.