Rihanna murder video hits bad note

A new Rihanna music video picturing the singer gunning down a man in retaliation for an apparent rape, has been strongly con- demned for en- couraging young women to turn to violence.

Man Down debuted on the American Black Entertainment TV (BET) network on Tuesday. The Caribbean-inspired video shows Rihanna shooting an unarmed man in cold blood at a train station and killing him.

The reggae-style song by the 23 year-old R&B singer features the lyrics “Momma, I just shot a man dead … in Central Station in front of a big ol’ crowd.” She goes on to say “It makes me wanna cry because I didn’t mean to hurt him. It could’ve been somebody’s son.” Later, admitting “now I’m a criminal” and asking the judge for a “minimal.”

Rihanna, herself the victim of a violent 2009 physical attack by her then boyfriend singer Chris Brown, justified  the video in a series of Twitter posts saying it depicted female empowerment.

“Young girls/women all over the world … we are a lot of things! We’re strong innocent fun flirtatious vulnerable, and sometimes our innocence can cause us to be naive! We always think it could NEVER be us, but in reality, it can happen to ANY of us! So ladies be careful,” she wrote.

Rihanna’s launch tweet flagging an underlying message critics say is wrong.

US-based community groups did not agree. The Parents Television Council, the Enough is Enough campaign, and entertainment think-tank Industry Ears called on BET and its parent company Viacom to stop airing the video.

“If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass,” said Paul Porter, co-founder of Industry Ears, which campaigns against negative images in the media.

Porter said that in 30 years he had never witnessed “such a cold, calculated execution of murder in prime time”.

Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council said that “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”.

But the singer hit back in a tweet, saying: “I’m a 23 year old rockstar 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 continued by telling her critics “This is the REAL WORLD!”.

“The music industry isn’t exactly Parents R Us! We have the freedom to make art, LET US! Its your job to make sure they dont turn out like US,” she tweeted.

BET and Viacom did not return calls for comment.

Man Down, the latest single from Rihanna’s Loud album, was released last week.

Brown, 21, pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna in February 2009, setting off a national debate about young, abusive relationships. He publicly apologised, underwent court-ordered domestic violence counselling and spent six months performing community service.

Rihanna has referred to domestic violence in several other hits, including her 2010 duet with Eminem Love the Way You Lie.

For the original report go to http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/rihanna-murder-video-hits-bad-note-20110603-1fjhv.html#ixzz1OB9dRIIl

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