"I didn't mean to end his life
I know it wasn't right
I can't even sleep at night
Can't get it off my mind
I need to get out of sight
Before I end up behind bars."
This is the first verse of Rihanna's new song debut, "Man Down." The lyrics delve into her regret over shooting and killing a man but the lyrics do not explain to listeners why Rihanna has committed this crime.
"Man Down" finally debuts as a music video and gives us curious listeners an answer. The video is based on a reverse chronology. The video opens up with Rihanna shooting a man from a window and the video continues into the next scene titled "Yesterday", showing events prior to the murder. At the end of the music video, viewers are made aware that Rihanna's music video character was raped and decided to kill the perpetrator out of impulsive fury.
After the music video aired, the video went viral, not only because of its popularity but also because of its controversy.
The Parents Television Council (PTC) were infuriated and reviled against the violence in the video: "Rihanna's personal story and status as a celebrity superstar provided a golden opportunity for the singer to send an important message to female victims of rape and domestic violence. Instead of telling victims they should seek help, Rihanna released a music video that gives retaliation in the form of premeditated murder the imprimatur of acceptability."
The day after PTC reacted, Rihanna reacted right back. She raged on her twitter, "I'm a 23 year old rockstar with NO KIDS! What's up with everybody wantin me to be a parent? I'm just a girl, I can only be your/our voice! Cuz we all know how difficult/embarrassing it is to communicate touchy subject matters to anyone especially our parents! And this is why! Cuz we turn the other cheek! U can't hide your kids from society, or they'll never learn how to adapt! This is the REAL WORLD! The music industry isn't exactly Parents R Us! We have the freedom to make art, LET US! Its your job to make sure they dont turn out like US."
Amen Rihanna! IDK WHY PTC is flipping out over this when children listen to and watch truly unspeakably horrible things through other filters. (movies, video games, explicit lyrics, Internet) Rihanna is obviously an artist that caters to the target market of young adults who understand that her video is an expression and not a reality. Also, PTC is solely focusing on the one act of violence in the video. What about the message that girls should not walk home alone at night after drinking and clubbing? What about the message that a girl should always deny a boy when he is making uninvited and forceful advances? Obviously her lyrics express her regret over her hasty and violent impulse.
We see half 3/4-naked girls in music videos being exploited, objectified and mistreated all the time with no explanation. We see gang fights and shootings in music videos occurring all the time with no explanation. Ofcourse these are almost always male artists' music videos.
And Rihanna gets slammed for using her music video to make an artistic statement against rape? I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that Rihanna was portrayed as a...::gasp::...female character acting violently against a male character!?
“Rape is happening all over the world and right in our own home and we continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn’t happen. I personally don’t condone violence or murder. I’ve been abused in the past and you don’t see me running around killing people in my spare time. I just want girls to be careful.” -wise words of Rihanna herself
You go girl. Shut up PTC.