Rihanna and director Anthony Mandler had a creative vision when they decided to make a mini movie of her latest single “Man Down.” But since creativity lies in the eyes of the beholder, it is often times miss communicated, leaving controversy in the air. This held true after the “Man Down” clip premiered on BET earlier this week, and several critics and advocacy groups slammed the video for its raw images.
Wanting the world to understand her concept behind the video, Rihanna called into BET’s 106 & Park yesterday to clarify the visuals.
“I don’t like to just make videos, I love to make an experience and this is art with a message. This time around I wanted to explore and experiment a little bit with my acting, even more than I have ever before and I knew that only Anthony Mandler would be able to master this particular project for me. We work together on almost all of my videos and there’s a certain level of trust that goes into making a video like this one, which is like a mini movie and you never play it safe. We always push each other further and further out the box, it’s gotta be deeper, it’s gotta be clever, it’s gotta be artistic and “Man Down” is a song about a girl who has committed a murder that she regrets and is completely remorsefulâ¦ Making that into a mini movie or video, we needed to go back to why it happened cause obviously she’s not a cold blooded killer, it had to be something so offensive and we decided to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address. Especially if you’ve been victimized in this scenario.”
She continuesâ¦”Rape, unfortunately it is happening all over the world and right in our own homes and we continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn’t happen. Girls and boys feel compelled to be embarrassed about it and hide it from everyone, including their teachers, their parents and their friends and that only continues to empower the abuser. I personally don’t condone violence or murder, I’ve personally been abused in the past and you don’t see me running around killing people in my spare time. I just want girls to be carefulâ¦just try not to be naÃ¯ve. And that’s not coming from a parent but a peer; I’m one of you guys and as much as you don’t wanna believe it, we go through the same stuffâ¦”
After the video premiered on BET, Advocacy Group The Parents Television Council, a non-profit organization that advocates responsible entertainment, slammed Rihanna for the “cold, calculated execution of murder” in the footage. The group went as far to say, “If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass.”
But Rihanna says critics and Advocacy groups are taking the wrong message from the video, adding “I didn’t go into it to make a controversial video, I wanted to make a mini movie, something raw and artistic and if I can be a voice for so many that aren’t heard then I win twice.”
She adds: “Look at how is affecting people, girls are empowered by this, it’s easy to turn it into something negative but I’m just really impressed that my fans get it. This is a story for them, it’s not for the critics.”