Pop star Rihanna’s new video for the song “Man Down” created quite a stir after it debuted on BET‘s “106 & Park” on May 31. The violent images in the video have caused many to ask for it to be banned.
In the video, Rihanna portrays a victim of sexual assault that gets retribution on her attacker by gunning him down in a train station. Members of the Parents Television Council (PTC) complained that the singer, a victim of a highly publicized domestic assault, should have approach domestic violence differently.
“Rihanna’s personal story and status as a celebrity superstar provided a golden opportunity for the singer to send an important message to female victims of rape and domestic violence,” Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the PTC, said in a statement. “Instead of telling victims they should seek help, Rihanna released a music video that gives retaliation in the form of premeditated murder the imprimatur of acceptability.”
Rihanna used a Twitter posting to defend herself on June 2. She says she’s an artist and her expression should not be muted.
“I’m a 23 year old rock star with NO KIDS! What’s up with everybody wantin me to be a parent? I’m just a girl, I can only be your/our voice!” she said on Thursday. “Cuz we all know how difficult/embarrassing it is to communicate touchy subject matters to anyone especially our parents! And this is why! Cuz we turn the other cheek! U can’t hide your kids from society, or they’ll never learn how to adapt! This is the REAL WORLD!
“The music industry isn’t exactly Parents R Us! We have the freedom to make art, LET US! It’s your job to make sure they don’t turn out like US,” she continued.
BET defended it’s airing of the video, saying it fit within the networks guidelines for decency. However, Henson took offense with the network as well.
“BET’s justification for airing Rihanna’s video is beyond inadequate,” Henson said. “If BET is serious that the video ‘complied’ with its standards, we would like to know just what those ‘standards’ are. In the interest of full disclosure, we call on BET to issue a public explanation of its programming guidelines and urge MTV to keep the video off its network.”