Rihanna-mania hits Northern Ireland
New Lodge goes crazy for superstar singer
Just a day after she was making headlines for stripping off in a field in Bangor, pop superstar Rihanna was at it again yesterday, causing mayhem as she continued to take Northern Ireland by storm during the filming of her new video.
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The singer arrived in the heart of the New Lodge shortly after noon, accompanied by police officers, burly security guards and her entourage of hairdressers, stylists, make-up artists and personal assistants.
Her welcome to the area couldn't have been warmer, as up to 1,000 fans of all ages packed into the local square, known as ‘the Grotto' to get a glimpse of their music idol.
Large crowds of excited fans gathered at the entrance to Duncairn Parade and a loud cheer went up as Rihanna stepped out of a black people carrier.
It was a sharp contrast to her exchanges the previous day with DUP Alderman Alan Graham, who told her to put her clothes back on as she filmed in his field in Bangor.
Mr Graham, a member of North Down Borough Council, was out in the field in his tractor when he saw Rihanna peeling off some of her clothes for the music video to accompany her new single, We Found Love, a dance collaboration with DJ Calvin Harris.
Yesterday, the Belfast Telegraph managed to grab her attention by shouting: “Rihanna, what do you think of the DUP farmer and what he had to say to you?” The Bajan beauty looked over and replied: “He was great.”
Rihanna, who is renowned for her raunchy dance moves, was dressed in a short grey skater skirt, grey crop top and with a black blazer thrown over her shoulders. She was then ushered into the home of New Lodge resident Patrick McCloskey, to have her hair and make-up done for the video shoot.
Patrick McCloskey, whose house was taken over by Rihanna's crew, said he couldn't believe that the pop superstar was actually in his bedroom.
“One of her entourage came to the house this morning and asked if they could use it,” he said.
“Basically she'll be getting her hair and make-up done and chilling out in it. I've had to move all my clothes out of my wardrobe, but I don't mind. At least I can say Rihanna's been in my bedroom.
“My son and daughter are over the moon and my nieces, too, they're all big fans. It's unbelievable to think that Rihanna's in there, relaxing in my living room.”
One local man who caught Rihanna's eye was 26-year-old Stephen Logan, who was sitting in his wheelchair outside the house in Duncairn Parade, when she finally emerged to screams of excitement.
Protected by several body-guards, the 23-year-old made her way into the square, stopping off to kiss a delighted Mr Logan on the cheek.
As the crowd continued to swell, security staff and police officers warned onlookers to move backwards to allow filming to begin. Rihanna jumped into a white Trans Am car, which begin to drive round and round in circles, while her fans chanted her name. Amid a haze of smoke, the car continued to circle the area, while her new song was played in the background. Sitting in the passenger seat of the car, she seemed to be shooting a row scene with a lover — a male actor who was driving the car. After several takes, the car stopped and Rihanna leapt out, slamming the door and storming off in anger.
However, when a number of onlookers broke free and surged forward, getting closer to the star than her security staff would have wanted, Rihanna looked annoyed. She went over to talk to the posse of photographers, telling them they were in the shot and asking them to move back.
After a half hour break, Rihanna returned to the Trans Am car and continued to film. At one stage, she accidentally stepped on a dead pigeon. The singer started laughing and ran back to the car.
When filming wrapped up for the afternoon, Rihanna leapt out of the Trans Am and to the delight of her fans, shouted: “Belfast is the best”, before running in the direction of Patrick McCloskey's house.
But there was one more thing to do before she got there. Outside, she met Stephen Logan again, waiting patiently to catch a second glimpse. Rihanna bent down and kissed his cheek again, this time, leaving a red-lipstick mark. He said: “I can't believe it. Two kisses from Rihanna today. I think I found myself a good place to sit. I'm not leaving this spot till she comes out again.”