Rihanna is defending her latest music video, which opens with a man being shot in the head.
Man Down, which premiered Tuesday last week on BET, is a song about a girl who shoots her lover in public. The video also portrays sexual assault.
On Tuesday, the Parents Television Council called the clip “disturbing” and asked BET to stop airing it.
But on Thursday’s 106 & Park, BET’s music video countdown show, Rihanna said the video is “art with a message.” “We just wanted to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address, especially if you’ve been victimized in this scenario,” Rihanna said.
BET says it will continue to play the video, explaining that the network “has a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines that are applied to all of our content” and that Rihanna’s video “complied with these guidelines and was approved for air.” MTV hasn’t played the video yet. An MTV representative said the station was “in the process of reviewing the video.” Rihanna, who was attacked by then-boyfriend Chris Brown in February 2009, says she doesn’t agree with violence.
Brown attacked Rihanna on the eve of the Grammys two years ago. He pleaded guilty to a felony and was sentenced to five years’ probation.
“I’ve been abused in the past and you don’t see me running around killing people in my spare time,” she said.
But the 23-year-old says rape happens too often and those victims need a voice.
“If I can be a voice for so many that aren’t heard, then I win twice,” she said.
The Man Down clip was directed by Anthony Mandler, who has directed other Rihanna videos.
The Grammy winner says she didn’t intend to make a controversial music video. She was hoping to display her acting skills and create “something raw and artistic.”
Violence isn’t just for music videos. A West Point cadet is suing veteran R ’n’ B diva Patti LaBelle, saying she ordered her bodyguards to beat him up as he waited for a ride home outside a Houston airport terminal.
The lawsuit alleges the cadet, Richard King, was waiting for his brother and father to pick him up outside one of the terminals at Bush Intercontinental Airport on March 11, when three of LaBelle’s bodyguards attacked him. King was in Houston, his hometown, while on spring break from West Point.
“Apparently, defendant LaBelle believed King was standing too close to her [no doubt expensive] luggage, even though he was oblivious to her presence and the danger he was in,” according to King’s lawsuit, which was filed in Houston civil court on Wednesday and also names the bodyguards, the airport and a taxi dispatcher as co-defendants. “LaBelle lowered the window of her limousine and gave a command to her bodyguards. They sprang into action.”
One of King’s lawyers, John Raley, said the alleged attacked resulted in a concussion and lingering dizziness and headaches for his client. The lawyer said King, who played defensive back for Army, was told by his doctors he can never play football again because of his injuries. The lawsuit is asking for unspecified damages.
A surveillance video from the airport provided by King’s lawyer showed King, 23, talking on a cellphone when one of LaBelle’s bodyguards appeared to push up against him. It appeared that King then pushed him back. Raley said King did not push back but was only trying to protect himself from a punch.