Rihanna's video for Man Down premiered this week. Before the video premiered I had heard talk about it's subject matter on the radio. At first I thought "Oh Lord, Rihanna has went back to her dark side." I was really hoping we were past this whole dark thing and she was back to singing upbeat pop tunes, the Rihanna we all love and know. But then this video comes out and the first scene is Rihanna shooting a man in a crowded Jamaican market place.
Let's start off with Rihanna's thoughts on the video. Rihanna is using this video to address rape issues. To her this will help girls to be brave enough to do something about their sexual abuse. Rihanna was not just trying to make a graphic video about rape and murder but was trying to make a video that get issues like rape to the mainstream. And we all know Rihanna is as mainstream as it gets. She makes a video about it, people will be watching and talking about it.
Now let's discuss the parents point of view. The Parents Television Council did have a problem with the video. Not because of the rape subject matter but because of the fact Rihanna kills the man who violated her. The PTC is not too happy that the video promotes killing the violator instead of the victim seeking help for what happen to them. Others have also bashed BET for showing the video primetime, especially on a show that is meant for teens (106 and Park). Rihanna has responded on Twitter by saying that she is a "23 year old rockstar with NO KIDS." (twitter.com, 2011) and doesn't understand why everybody expects her to be a parent.
I love how the PTC and others are making a big deal out of this video as if Rihanna's other songs are children appropriate. Her song titles include "Rude Boy", "S&M", and "What's My Name" just to name a few. Yea....none of those songs are exactly made for teens, or at least they shouldn't be. Parents need to take back the role of being the MAIN role models in their child lives or at least put their children in an environment (after school program, youth group, sports team, etc) where they can have role models that they [parents] would prefer and won't have time to watch Rihanna's video or anyone else's that might be inappropriate for children. At the same time, I do believe in social responsibility. Rihanna needs to understand that a good portion of her target audience are teenagers and teenagers are impressionable. They are easily influenced and are quick to follow the crowd. Hell, I know some adults that are easily influenced and quick to follow the crowd, but I digress.
In a nutshell, Rihanna is not a parent to the world's youth but it was a poor choice to put a video with such violence on primetime on a teen show. This is a situation where everyone involved needs to #dobetter.