Beautiful Barbadian vocalist turned dark, resentful rocker Rihanna, 23, has reached a climax in her dynamic musical journey. No longer the island princess with a dance-pop, reggae forte, RiRi has taken a turn down an obscure and gloomy path which manifested itself in her controversial new video, “Man Down”.
The then-edgy but still innocent singer’s transition gained its acceleration from an alleged altercation with boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009. This domestic violence-case hardly operated in the star’s private sphere; the incident was entirely publicized when Chris was charged with assault and making criminal threats and pictures of Rihanna’s visibly battered face were leaked by paparazzi.
Some fear that the remainder of Rihanna’s career and life narrative will be shaped by the detrimental and humiliating episode. The Parent’s Television Council sees traces of the painful incident in her most talked about “Man Down” video and questions the impact the morbid video will have on young women. After being physically assaulted (really, suggestively raped) by a man behind a club one night, emotionally distraught Rihanna shoots and kills her offender in the middle of a crowded street in broad daylight.
The Council is concerned that the mini-movie presents a ‘cold, calculated execution of murder’ as a means to achieve justice. Adolescents in similar situations, after seeing their role model take the life of the man who caused her pain, may hereafter see murderous revenge rather than counseling, legal action or therapeutic healing as an immediate solution. The Council also points out the clear double-standard that comes with the video’s presentation, “”If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass …”
Singers undoubtedly use music as an expressive outlet, but perhaps Rihanna should stop letting her painful past erode her better judgment and capacity to reason. It’s as if before she walks into the recording studio, she envisions herself settling into a psychologist’s office for a draining therapy session, and her listeners become her shrink.