In the midst of the controversy surrounding her latest video "Man Down," Rihanna phoned into 106 & Park this evening (June 2) to clarify her position on the matter. The singer, who is currently in Baltimore rehearsing for her tour, took time out to talk to Terrence and Rocsi about her true purpose for doing the video.
"I didn't go into it to make a controversial video," Rihanna stated. "I wanted to make a minimovie, something raw and artistic." Earlier today, Rihanna fired off a tweet in response to the criticism she was receiving for a video where her character shoots and kills a man. In particular, Rihanna seemed to be addressing Parents Television Council and Industry Ears, two organizations that called on television networks to pull the video from TV. "The music industry isn't exactly Parents R Us! We have the freedom to make art, LET US! It's your job to make sure they dont turn out like US," Rihanna wrote.
Rihanna further explained herself on the 106 call. "'Man Down' is a song about a girl who committed a murder that she regrets and is completely remorseful about it," Rihanna explains. "In making that into a mini-movie or a video, we needed to go back to why it happened, because obviously she's not a cold-blooded killer...and we decided to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address."
For the video, Rihanna chose director Anthony Mandler, and together they came up with the story that is shaking up the industry. "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 ever have before," she adds.
Rihanna also says that, despite the backlash, the video is being well-received by her fans. "Girls are empowered by this. It's easy to turn it into someting negative. I'm just really impressed that my fans get it. That was really important to me. This is a story for them. It's not for the critics. It's for my fans."
Ironically enough, on the same day Rihanna was faced with this criticism, her ex Chris Brown was tweeting on a similar, yet different, topic. "I never claim to be no saint but by no means am I trying to promote death, violence, and destruction with my music!" Before the lines of communication could get confused, CB made it clear that he wasn't referring to RiRi. "And for all the idiots in the audience this convo wasn't for @rihanna."
Having been a victim of domestic violence, Rihanna is conscious of how her message gets across and, though she's not anyone's parent, she does realize that, with great music, comes great responsibility. "Rape is happening all over the world and we continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn't happen," she says. "Girls and boys feel compelled to hide it from everyone...They need a voice sometimes. And if I can do that, then I've done my job."
(Photo: Brad Barket/PictureGroup)