I Partied With Rihanna at the Guggenheim. Here’s How That Went Down.

When I saw the notification from Eventbrite about celebrating the launch of Rihanna’s coffee table book at the Guggenheim with Rihanna HERSELF, it was too good to be true. Until Rihanna’s official fanpage RihannaDaily.com retweeted that same notification from both Eventbrite AND her publisher Phaidon, I had to jump on it. I was initially shocked by the price of the ticket, not because it was very expensive, no on the contrary, but because it was… so affordable. $150. I expected it to be over a thousand dollars, but to spend a night partying with RIHANNA for only $150 and you get the BIG ASS coffee table book that isn’t due out until October 24th FOR FREE? I have never pressed the “Checkout” button so quick. 


The notification about the event came only days before the event, so I had very little time to start planning what I was going to wear — because you have to look good for Rihanna — luckily I had a gorgeous belted Zara denim jacket that I really only wore once, so I decided to opt for a black/grey look and decided to add some color to that with a yellow messenger bag. It was very last minute, but it was perfect. 


As the Uber pulled up to the Guggenheim around 7:30PM, my stomach started tying itself into three different types of knots. I could already see a somewhat big crowd of people outside in line. I quickly hopped out the Uber and made it into the line, luckily I wasn’t too far in the back so I was able to peer through one of the atrium windows at the event. I didn’t see much, but I saw an open bar, a marble stand, and lying on top of that was the mammoth gold-framed Luxury Supreme edition of the book. Around 8:05PM, the line was starting to move. As I was ready to present my barcode, my phone automatically shuts down and restarts. Panic sets in. I’m trying to get my phone to restart quicker and I’m shaking, fumbling around like an absolute nincompoop in the check-in area, but luckily the check-in lady was able to help me. All she did was ask me my ID and looked me up on the iPad. Then she guided me to a table where I had to put my phone in this little pocket that deadlocked and will not open until I leave the event, since this event had a strict no phone policy. After one last security check, I was in.

This was the first time I had ever been in the Guggenheim and, wow. There was hip-hop and dancehall music playing, crazy lights, and projections of Rihanna and Phaidon’s logos on the balconies that twisted around the atrium. The open bar had glasses of champagne and water ready to serve, I walked around and took a look at all the different books and their wildly expensive editions — including the gold-framed book which you had to wear gloves to flip through. It was like touching an ancient artifact. I recognized a few faces, like Rihanna’s niece Majesty was there with Rihanna’s best friend Melissa, I stood elbow to elbow with Mark Ronson, and even Twitter legend NicoKartel was there! The energy in that room… I’m pretty sure about half that room owned entire brownstones or penthouse apartments overlooking Central Park. Around 9PM, I hear a commotion coming from somewhere. I turn around and see a large man holding a Steadicam, and a bunch of other men wearing black suits coming through the entrance. That could mean one thing and one thing only — she’s here. 


I immediately make a beeline to the crowd and I could see her. Long flowing black hair, Saint Laurent leopard-print dress with heeled boots, the glossiest black nail polish I had ever seen, Robyn Rihanna Fenty herself. THE Rihanna. Bad Gal Riri. Ambassador-At-Large to Barbados. Fashion icon. I could go through all the names and nicknames. I was determined to make some form of contact with Rihanna, even if it was just looking me dead in my eyes. I latch on to a very small group of fans who decided to beat the crowds by going up and down the stairs and elevator to get to where Riri was going first. We managed to catch her taking a break on the second floor balcony, tucked away by the Cafe, but surrounded on one side by fans, the other by bodyguards. As we waited impatiently for her, I kept going over in my head what I wanted to say to her. I had a whole conversation ready, but all I could muster when she walked out of the cafe and came over to our side to greet us was… “Can I hug you?” 


Then she did it. She went in for a very very quick hug. I wanted that hug to last forever. I was absolutely speechless. 


She greeted the other people standing beside me then turned around to go downstairs to the main landing at the atrium. As me and the other fans made our way downstairs, we can see her getting ready to give a speech. She tells us a little bit of a backstory behind the book, thanks the creative team behind the book, the Haas Brothers for their creative direction, her best friend Melissa for all the most intimate photographs, the publisher Phaidon, and for us the fans for making this all happen. And no, she did not mention the album. She left soon after a quick walk around the atrium, and to me that signaled the end of the night. I drank the last of the still water in my glass, stole a napkin that had Rihanna’s logo on it, and left. Upon exiting, I was greeted by some attendees who unlocked the phone pocket, and went to a table where I received the book. DAMN is it heavy. I had to lug that monster of a coffee table book on to the Uber, back to Penn Station, sit with it on the train, and back onto the Hofstra shuttle from Mineola to my dorm where my friends excitedly were waiting for me to relay the events of the night and ogle at the book. It literally still feels like an absolute dream. Moral of the story: if Rihanna holds an exclusive event in the city for under 1,000 dollars, DO IT. 

The Rihanna Coffee Table Book is now available to pre-order at therihannabook.com