In a fascinating twist, Rihanna's "Man Down" video is getting more attention for being "controversial" than Lady Gaga's religious odyssey "Judas." When we watched "Man Down" yesterday, we thought the video's prologue -- where Rihanna guns down a man who wronged her -- was cliché and distracted viewers from the real star of the video, Kingston, Jamaica. Others saw the video's opening murder as something different, however: protest-worthy! Crybaby entertainment watchdogs like the Parents Television Council, the Enough is Enough campaign, and Industry Ears have all called on Viacom -- which owns BET, MTV, and VH1 -- to stop broadcasting the clip after it debuted on Tuesday, Reuters reports. Don't these groups realize that no one actually plays music videos on television anymore?
"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 Industry Ears co-founder Paul Porter, who added that in 30 years he had never witnessed "such a cold, calculated execution of murder in prime time." Porter obviously doesn't watch TV, or at least has never seen an episode of Breaking Bad. The fact that a mildly PG-13 slaying tacked onto the first minute of Rihanna's music video is being deemed so offensive is simply evidence of how pathetically touchy and thin-skinned so many people in this country are. Violence of this caliber is seen by millions every week in episodes of NCIS and CSI and other acronym procedurals, but no one complains about them.
Of course, it wouldn't be so much of a problem had Rihanna not gone on Twitter and basically empowered her young fans to go out and gun down that man who did them wrong (sorta). "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 naïve," Rihanna tweeted. "We always think it could NEVER be us, but in reality, it can happen to ANY of us! So ladies be careful." And pack heat?
- Parents Television Council