Kidnapping. Nudity. Blood. Torture. And Money. Lots and lots of money. That’s the crux of Rihanna’s explicit new music video for “B***h Better Have My Money," which dropped early Thursday morning. The Bajan beauty directed the clip, where we watch in suspense as she kidnaps and tortures the wife of her crooked accountant, who owes her — you guessed it — a crap load of cash.
The video is ballsy, from the gratuitous nudity to the flagrant drug use, with a splash of gore that would warm the cockles of Quentin Tarantino’s heart. There’s a few theories I have about the message behind “B***h Better Have My Money,” so indulge me, won’t you?
1. “B***h Better Have My Money” as a Feminist Anthem
In the song, Rih calls the shots (like blahp, blahp, blahp), authoritatively telling her antagonist to “pay me what you owe me.” She’s owning her power and maybe even hinting at a very topical issue.
A number of pop stars, including Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, have spoken out about the unique challenges female recording artists face in the music industry. In general, women make about 77 cents for every dollar a man makes in this country. Compound that with the immense pressure for female artists to also sell sex in order to get the same opportunities as men and it makes sense why homegirl would be a little salty. So, it may be a stretch, but Rih’s unbridled rage could do some good for the industry in the long run, because it’s pushing the conversation that women demand equality at every level.
2. “B***h Better Have My Money” as a New, Very Personal Side of Rihanna
Rihanna has 13 No.1 hits. With that kind of streak, you’re always pushing to reinvent yourself, and for her, that means getting really personal. You might remember the singer was “effectively bankrupt” at the end of 2009, after her real-life accountant mismanaged her funds. Despite being fairly candid on her social media accounts, it’s rare that the singer draws parallels so closely to her personal life in her music. Perhaps “BBHMM” is signaling a shift towards a more fearless, authentic Rih.
3. “B***h Better Have My Money” as a Jump Off for Something Much Bigger
Am I reading too deeply into this? Maybe so. Sometimes, a song is just as song. But sometimes it’s a signpost. Rih starring in a recent short film for Dior and directing the video for “BBHMM” could be subtle hints that our girl is expanding her empire into full-on media moguldom. I wouldn’t rule it out. She’s clearly been given the runway to express herself creatively.
You can’t help but be inspired by her journey from obscurity to superstardom, a woman who held a brave face through a very public domestic violence scandal at the hands of then-boyfriend Chris Brown, all while maintaining a chart-topping music career and fashion empire. A woman who does what she wants, when she wants. No matter how you slice it, “BBHMM” is a shining beacon for the power one woman can harness to influence the world. Don’t act like you forgot.
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(Photos: Roc Nation / Westbury Road)