The video: Rihanna is no stranger to controversy, but the new video for her single "Man Down" has sparked what might be the angriest backlash to her music yet. In the context of the video's storyline, the Barbados native shoots a man dead for raping her. (See the video below.) Rihanna, who was physically abused by now-ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, has defended her work, tweeting: "This is the real world." The Parents Television Council, internet watchdog Enough is Enough, and the Industry Ears think tank have all demanded that BET, which premiered the video this week, yank it off the air, calling it a stunt to sell albums. "I have never witnessed such a cold, calculated execution of murder in prime time," says Paul Porter of Industry Ears. "If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass."
The reaction: Killing someone who hurts you doesn't make you a feminist — it makes you a murderer, says Jessica Wakeman at The Frisky. "Sorry, RiRi, but I don't think perpetuating violence is 'edgy,'" even if this is how you're processing the beating you took at the hands of Brown. I believe Rihanna, counters A.J. Hammer at CNN, when she says this is about empowering girls who have suffered like her. "She's expressing herself. It may be in a provocative way, but this is her art." Judge for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- How to trim $500 from your monthly spending
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Are there too many good shows on television?
- The forgotten victims of the war in Ukraine
- Comic-Con 2014: Everything we learned about Avengers 2, Batman v. Superman, and more
- The big, gaping hole in the liberal policy arsenal
Subscribe to the Week