On July 8, a fire broke out backstage while pop singer Rihanna was performing at a concert in Texas in front of thousands of fans. The fire caused sparks and debris and forced concert producers to evacuate the building and cancel the remainder of the concert. Even though this was probably a terrifying event for the singer, Rihanna’s actions that night were anything but typical. But in order to understand how, we need a baseline.
Every year, thousands of house fires are reported all over the United States. They are usually caused by electrical problems or human carelessness which covers everything from leaving cigarettes burning or candles unattended. Humans are hard-wired to be afraid of fire and most people panic when they smell smoke or see flames. This panic most often causes screaming, flailing arms and calling 911 as quickly as possible.
This is the normal reaction to fire, right?
For celebrities this isn’t always the case. Believe it or not, celebrities (particularly singers) are confronted with fires quite frequently during performances and rehearsals. Advanced pyrotechnic stunts are awesome, but sometimes go awry and cause small electrical fires.
So how do singers handle stage fires? Let’s check some out.
Rihanna Tweets After A Stage Fire
What Happened: Pop sensation Rihanna is known for her flashy costumes and her elaborate stage performances that include heavy lights and fireworks. The singer’s performances usually go smoothly and without a hitch despite these fancy pyrotechnics. But Rihanna’s extravagant entertainment measures finally caught up with her at a recent concert in Dallas.
A fire broke out from a faulty stage light while Rihanna was singing her hit song “California King Bed”. The light showered the stage with burning debris and sparks. The fire grew rapidly, but was quickly extinguished by the stage crew. Rihanna apparently stayed calm during the ordeal and even said that she would like to continue the show, but the production staff quickly vetoed her pleas and cancelled the rest of the concert.
However, it is not the fire that is making headlines. It is her curious actions shortly after the event took place.
What Happened After: Instead of calling her mom or checking to make sure none of her fans were harmed, she did what every celebrity does after a near-death experience. She logged onto her Twitter account. The singer tweeted “DALLAS!!! We set the stage on FYAH tonight!!! LITERALLY!!! I’m so pissed, I was havin so much fun wit yall too!!! I gotta come back man!!”
Michael Jackson’s Fire Mishap Sparks Generosity
What Happened: In 1984, the late pop singer Michael Jackson received severe burns on his head while filming a Pepsi Cola commercial in Los Angeles. Jackson, who was 25 at the time, was singing his hit song ‘Billie Jean’ when the special effects on set went wrong and sparks lit his hair on fire. Jackson was rushed to the hospital and subsequently treated for second degree burns.
What Happened After: After this type of accident, most people would think that he would have been angry and spiteful toward Pepsi. But this event actually sparked generosity on the part of Jackson, who in turn actually ended up donating his $1.5 million settlement from Pepsi to a burn center in California.
Gene Simmons Fails to Learn From His Fire Mistakes
What Happened: Kiss bassist Gene Simmons is known for going to extreme measures to entertain fans during performances. But a stunt that he pulled onstage in New York City on New Year’s Eve in 1973 went beyond extreme and into the realm of lunacy. Toward the end of the hit song “Firehouse” Simmons walked offstage and filled his mouth full of kerosene. He then returned to the middle of the stage and proceeded to blow a huge fireball which ended up causing all of his curly locks to go up in flames. Luckily, a quick-thinking roadie promptly extinguished the flames and Simmons was not otherwise injured during the incident.
What Happened After: You would think that someone who has already set their hair on fire once would go to any measure possible to avoid doing it again, or least be a little more careful. Not Gene Simmons. He knew the dangers, but kept doing it anyway. Simmons repeated the stunt many times over the course of his career, and set his hair on fire during many of them. Apparently he did not learn from his mistakes.
Mariah Carey Saves The Day
What Happened: Mariah Carey was getting ready to go perform at a concert in Egypt in May 2010 when an electrical fire broke out under the stage. Carey quickly sprung into action, putting out the flames with a towel. The singer was not harmed during the incident.
What Happened After: Just Like Rihanna, Mariah too turned to Twitter shortly after the accident. She tweeted “naturally, my emergency instincts kicked in and I put out the flames [with a] towel. Lol (yet true).”
It is no wonder Mariah’s superhero emergency instincts kicked in during this terrifying event. Putting out fires, marrying much younger men, giving birth to twins after 40? Is there anything she can’t do?
Justin Bieber’s Mom Goes Up in Flames
What Happened: Justin Bieber brought his mother Mallette on stage during a concert in Berlin in April 2011 and surprised her with a cake for her 35th birthday. Apparently Mallette got a little too close to the cake to blow out the candles while the crowd was singing her “Happy Birthday.” Several strands of her hair brushed the flames and instantly caught fire. Justin promptly put out the flames with his bare hands. Mallette was not injured during the incident and only lost a few strands of hair.
What Happened After: Apparently going to Twitter after a fire is the first thing that pops into a celebrity’s head because both Bieber and his mother tweeted shortly after the incidence. “Sick show in Berlin . . . brought @studiomama on stage 2 sing her happy bday but she lit her hair on fire with the candles. Lol. I saved her.” Mallette added, “Thank you for all your b-day wishes!! All I want is your prayers. Thank u @justinbieber for the cake (& embarrassing me on stage lol.) Xo.”
Too bad it was Mallette’s hair and not Justin’s hair that caught fire. I think a close cut would have worked really nicely for him. Maybe he could have even signed an endorsement deal to be the new Mr. Clean. Consider that an opportunity missed Justin.
This guest post is by Edwin, you can follow him on Twitter: @TheCelebutaunt.