Can Rihanna release a music video anymore without running into some controversy? Her clip for Loud single “S&M” was banned in 11 countries and even got her sued by photographer David LaChapelle, and now her new video for “Man Down”, in which RiRi commits first degree murder of a man who sexually assaulted her, is being condemned by various groups, including the Parents Television Council.
Upon the release of the video, Rihanna tweeted a series of messages to her fans about the point of “Man Down”. “Young girls/women all over the world…we are a lot of things!” she wrote. “We’re strong innocent fun flirtatious vulnerable, and sometimes our innocence can cause us to be naive! We always think it could NEVER be us, but in reality, it can happen to ANY of us! So ladies be careful.”
But her implied message of female empowerment was not received by the Parents Television Council and a variety of other organizations, including the Enough Is Enough campaign and Industry Ears.
“If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass,” said Paul Porter of Industry Ears, which campaigns against negative images in the media. They have asked BET and its parent company Viacom to stop airing the video immediately.
Porter also expressed that “in 30 years he had never witnessed ‘such a cold, calculated execution of murder in prime time.’”
Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council complained that “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.”
Today, Rihanna has responded to these statements through Twitter. “I’m a 23 year old rockstar with NO KIDS! What’s up with everybody wantin me to be a parent?” she wrote in a series of tweets. “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.”
As indicated in our first post on the video, we’re going to have to side with the Parents Television Council with this one. Rihanna’s intent with “Man Down” might have been to discourage violence towards women by showing that if you physically assault somebody, you won’t get away with it. But all we gleaned from this storyline was the idea that it’s acceptable to turn to violence to get back at those who hurt you. The singer and her team of people are allowed to make whatever art they want — but that doesn’t mean we have to agree with it.
How about you? Do you think RiRi’s video should be banned?