Rihanna's "Man Down" Video, and the Irrelevance of the Parents Television Council
A couple days ago, Rihanna released the music video for her latest single, “Man Down,” a pop-reggae song that tells the story of a young woman’s guilt and regret after murdering a man that deeply wronged her. Check out the video below.
The cinematic clip fleshes out the song’s storyline, conveying that the root of her actions is a harrowing sexual assault in an alley after a house party. The video is expertly directed and paced for maximum impact; Rihanna is effervescent and gorgeous, interacting with friends and neighbors in her small, island town. She is innocently enjoying her life until tragedy literally emerges from out of the darkness and forces itself upon her, utterly breaking her spirit.
“Man Down” is a heartbreaking, complicated and brilliant music video.
And so of course the Parents Television Council and other useless, opportunistic, media-watchdog groups are “pissed.” Go figure.
Taking a break from the arduous task of bashing Glee and The Jersey Shore, the PTC served up a press release blasting “Man Down” for the message it allegedly sends to America’s youth, lamenting, “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.” Then some group called Industry Ears chimed in, proclaiming, “’Man Down’ is an inexcusable, shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song,” and suggested that if Chris Brown had made this video he would have been condemned for it.
Well, I’m not even going to touch the Chris Brown comment, because it’s an irrelevant low-blow at Rihanna that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
But in general, this whole “what about the children?” shit is getting completely out of hand.
Can groups like the Parents Television Council be any more irrelevant and full of shit? They don’t attack Congress for trying to defund Planned Parenthood or Public Education, i.e. two issues that actually impact the lives of America’s youth. And they’re not holding rallies to raise awareness of issues like Food Deserts or the lack or arts education in schools either.
Nope, they spend their time watching television, and then spouting off arbitrary platitudes about the harm a music video is going to do to teenagers.
At the end of the day, if you think your kid is going to try to emulate the “Man Down” video – a video where a young woman is raped and then seeks revenge on her rapist – then you need to have a long, long talk with your child.
And Rihanna should not be the center of that conversation.
And in the meantime, the Parents Television Council needs to shut the fuck up, let artists be artists, and find a cause that actually matters.