For your review, the following is yet another reason why pop culture today is too difficult for me to stomach. Pop/R & B singer Rihanna recently released a video, Man Down, a song about a sexually woman who shoots her abuser in public. Here’s her joint:


Rihanna has taken to her Twitter account defending her video, urging people to view her work as art with a message. Exactly what kind of ‘artistry’ and ‘message’ is this video trying to convey? ‘Make an unwanted advance at a woman and get shot in the head for it?’ Got it. Rihanna is no better than groups like PETA and Code Pink if she thinks shock and awe are the ways to promote a message; especially if that message is supposed to be one of healing. Instead of using her experience to encourage victims to come forward and seek help, she releases a video that uses premeditated murder as a license to seek retribution. Art, is what she calls it. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing even remotely artistic about shooting somebody in the head.

Now, I freely admit it was on this very blog that I once blasted Rihanna for being voiceless regarding women’s abuse and for being complicit by overlooking the physical assault of her former boyfriend, singer Chris Brown (see this post and this post). But now that she is finally making a declarative statement, she goes to the far opposite end of the extreme. Either stay silent and drop the charges (like she did in her personal life) or shoot the dude (like she did in her video). For her, there is no happy medium.

In her defense, if you listen to the lyrics, Rihanna seems to suggest remorse for using such extreme measures as murder. Says the singer “I didn’t mean to lay him down / but it’s too late to turn back now.” Perhaps listeners will hear that and use it as a cautionary tale for not seeking vigilante justice. Maybe that will convince women who have been victims of sexual assault to not go out and bust caps in their assailants. But if that was her desired intention, why include that violent opening scene in the first place? This video almost falls in line with the “Do as I say, not as I do” mantra.

Shame on her, the director, and the rest of her crew for resorting to this.

Holla at me, people!

– ACL

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