We have been big supporters of Rihanna — but the tastelessness of her new “Man Down” video where she assassinates a man before the song even begins — is just too much tacky for our type. We are also plainly aware that the core mistakes of the Man Down video are identical to the errors made in the video for “Love the Way You Lie.” We see a pattern here and we don’t like the mosaic.
There has been proper media outrage shot against Rihanna since the video was released two days ago:
Rihanna has come under fire from the Parents Television Council, the Enough is Enough campaign and entertainment think tank Industry Ears for her new “Man Down” music video, in which she is depicted gunning down a man in cold blood as payback for an implied sexual assault. The groups are urging Viacom, the parent company of BET and MTV, to stop airing the clip, which debuted yesterday.
Rihanna claims that the video and the song, which is about a woman struggling with guilt over accidentally murdering a man, is meant to encourage female empowerment.
If you watch the video, there is nothing “accidental” about the shooting. Rihanna is an assassin. She gets the gun. She stalks the guy. She carefully aims at the back of his head and shoots him from above and behind.
The lyric for the song repeatedly mentions the gun and shooting and revenge — but nothing about her alleged rape or assault at the hands of the man she shot is revealed. There’s a murder but without a clearly expressed underlying cause:
Why did I pull the trigger
Pull the trigger, pull the trigger, boom
And end a nigga, end a niggas life so soon
When me pull the trigger, pull the trigger, pull it ‘pon you
Somebody tell me what I’m gonna, what I’m gonna do
Rihanna murdering the guy is clearly shown, yet her rape and assault are only hinted at in the video and in the lyric. What is her aesthetic message — that assassination is less awful that getting beat up? Why is she merely suggesting what happened to her to earn the man his death at her hands? What is the point of her viciously expressed violence and its influence on the young mind?
We were actually more offended by Rihanna’s unbound breasts in the video. Watching her bounce around in front of young children and leering men was just a bit too much information.
We’re disappointed in Rihanna’s execution of her Man Down video. She sings the song like gangster, yet her video makes her into a victim who lowers herself lower than than her abuser, and that is one tough stunt to pull off — making us feel more sorry for a bad man than a ruptured woman — and that’s why we have such a disappointing reaction to the lesser work of a previously admired Superstar.