Who would have thought back in the days of "Pon de Replay" and "SOS" that Rihanna would one day be such a controversial, limit-pushing pop artist? Maybe that's giving her a lot of credit, but after having to fend off criticism for the content of single "S&M," Rihanna again must go to the mattresses for her video for murder ballad "Man Down," which features the singer shooting her boyfriend for assaulting her at a party. Various social groups called for the video to be pulled from rotation by BET and all other Viacom-owned networks—they declined—and Rihanna called into BET's flagship program "106 & Park" to defend herself.
“I don’t like to just make videos. I love to make an experience and this is art with a message,” explained the Barbados native. “Obviously [her character is] not a cold-blooded killer. It has to be something so offensive and we decided to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address.” Ri also explained that she and director Anthony Mandler wanted to shine light on the subject of sexual assault to increase general public awareness. "“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,” she said. "Girls and boys continue to feel embarrassed and hide it from everyone...and that only continues to empower the abuser. "
And of course, Rihanna says she doesn't approve of vigilante violence in response to such attacks. "I personally don’t condone violence or murder," she says. 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...be everything that you are, just try not to be naive." Wise words indeed, RiRi. Let's hope that this is is the end of this controversy, and we can go back to freaking out about Tyler, the Creator or Common or something.
For lots more pics, videos and up-to-the-second dish on Rihanna, please check out her Popdust Artist Page.