Rihanna is standing by her "Man Down," more specifically the new music video accompanying the single that has the Parents Television Council and other groups in a tizzy.
The video, which premiered on Tuesday on BET's "106 & Park," depicts the pop star shooting her lover at a train station after he sexually assaults her.
"I didn't mean to lay him down / but it's too late to turn back now," she sings in the reggae-inspired track. The PTC is calling for a total ban of the clip.
"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. The message of the disturbing video could not be more off base," the council said in a statement.
Rihanna is no stranger to domestic violence issues, having survived a violent attack by former boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009.
Industry Ears, another watchdog group, is accusing the Barbados native of courting shock.
" 'Man Down' is an inexcusable, shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song," Industry Ears head Paul Porter said in a release. "In my 30 years of viewing BET, I have never witnessed such a cold, calculated execution of murder in primetime."
Rihanna has taken to Twitter to defend herself and the music video.
"The music industry isn't exactly Parents R Us! We have the freedom to make art, LET US! Its your job to make sure they dont turn out like US," she wrote.
Taylor Swift launched her new "Story of Us" video on MTV on Tuesday night, sparking fresh gossip over who inspired the love song. Swift, who famously wrote "Forever & Always" about ex Joe Jonas, confessed the song is definitely about a former flame.
"Any time I'm onstage or watching the music video, the first thing that comes into my mind is the person I wrote the song about," she told MTV. "It's like the first thing that you think of is the moment that inspired the song, which is that excruciating, awful moment when you run into an ex for the first time."
Could it be John Mayer, Taylor Lautner or even Lucas Till? So far the country star is mum about whom the "Story" is based on, but will offer a few details. "Afterward, I just felt so empty, like we were both fighting this silent war of pretending we didn't care that the other was there," she said. "And I went home, and I wrote this song about it."
The "Story of Us," off her "Speak Now" album, captures the spirit of her awards show encounter, but in a different setting. In the video the couple falls in and out of love in the Vanderbilt University library. Looking especially preppy in her Ivy League get-up, Swift turns up the on-screen angst -- big time.
Beyonce wants you to know that Queen B is back -- or at least wants to tease you to that effect.
The multitalented star has posted a minute-plus sizzle reel with glimpses into the epic video for her new single, "Run the World (Girls)," and for fans it does not disappoint.
That'd be the single that leaked in demo form in April under the name "Girls (Who Run the World)."
The female anthem, a long tradition for Mrs. Jay-Z, gets a revolutionary treatment in the clips as Beyonce assembles an all-girl army to charge on through, well, the world.
Major shoes, big hair, a standard trio of lovely backup dancers and a touch of the apocalypse suggest this is next-level Beyonce fierceness. Think Mad Maxine.
The single will be on "4," Beyonce's upcoming album slated for a summer release.
"We all have special numbers in our lives, and 4 is that for me,” the singer told Billboard. "It's the day I was born. My mother's birthday, and a lot of my friends' birthdays, are on the fourth; April 4 is my wedding date."
Watch the clip above. Are you excited for the full video to drop?
Just call Michael Bolton the new Captain Jack Sparrow, jester of Tortuga. He made his debut as the kohl-eyed pirate over the weekend on the " 'Saturday Night Live' Digital Short" with Andy Samberg and the guys from Lonely Island.
The episode, hosted by Tina Fey and featuring the return of her Sarah Palin character, marked 20 years since Bolton had been on the show. He was a musical guest in 1991 and appeared in the "We Are the World" spoof called "Musicians for Free Range Chickens."
This time, he hit the studio with a "big, sexy hook" for the trio's newest song, but as it turns out, Bolton is a major cinephile. (Keira Knightley!) He also makes for a fantastic "Pirate of the Caribbean," Forrest Gump, Erin Brockovich and Tony Montana. Look out, Johnny Depp.
"Working with Andy, Akiva and Jorma on the Jack Sparrow digital short was one of the highlights of my career and most memorable experiences of my life," Bolton wrote on his website. "For the few people on the planet who might not know, these guys are brilliant, funny and beyond super talented. They made me do things I never would have expected to be comfortable with and I'm so glad I did. Truly grateful to be a part of this project and CANNOT WAIT for the chance to work with the guys again."
We can't either. Watch the clip above and tell us what your favorite part was in comments.
In the meantime, his 21st studio album, "Gems –- The Duets Collection," is out June 21.
Lady Gaga has been teasing to the premiere of her "Judas" music for weeks, much to the chagrin of little monsters and devotees of Christianity everywhere -- but hours before its Thursday world premiere on E!, the high-drama video leaked online.
Lady Gaga plays a biker-chick iteration of Mary Magdalene, echoed on her "Born This Way" album cover, and the video includes her interpretation of Magdalene's role in Judas' betrayal of Jesus. She even jumps in a bathtub with them to ceremoniously wash Jesus' feet. The singer has already said the video "is not supposed to be a biblical lesson."
"I don't view the video as a religious statement," she said. "I view it as social statement. I view it as a cultural statement. ... It's a metaphor."
You can expect a lot of dancing in the pop video peppered with numerous tight beauty shots of Mother Monster. There's even a lipstick-shooting firearm!
An uncut seven-minute video will premiere at 7 p.m. Thursday -- or simply watch it above. Blasphemy or brilliance? Tell us in comments.
When you hit as big as Lady Gaga has, a "Weird Al" Yankovic parody can't be far behind -- but with an act as unique as Lady Gaga involved, things got a little extra weird for Al.
"Well, this was a strange day," the satirist wrote on his blog late Wednesday. "After putting my Lady Gaga parody on YouTube this morning -- and announcing that it wouldn't be on my next album because Gaga didn't approve it –- there was a huge outpouring of disappointment from the Internet. Apparently the fact that she didn't approve it was news to Lady Gaga herself!"
Yankovic had vented earlier in the day, albeit kindly, about the "Born This Way" singer's alleged last-minute rejection of his song despite his advance submission of the concept, lyrics that poke fun at Gaga's outlandish costumes and performances, and a rough-cut recording with a due date that required him to cut short a family vacation.
"I still don't know specifically what kind of problem she has with the song (obviously I take a few jabs at her, but y'know, it's satire –- that's how it's supposed to work). And I'm especially confused as to why she waited until I actually recorded the song (at her insistence!) before saying no," he initially wrote of the Gaga saga. "It's not like there were any surprises in the finished song that she couldn't have foreseen by, you know, READING THE LYRICS."
(Though parodies fall under fair use and don't require permission to be released, Yankovic said it is his "personal policy" to get consent from the original artist before putting a parody on an album.)
But wait! Turns out, "Even though we assumed that Gaga herself was the one making the decision (because, well, that's what we were TOLD), [her manager] apparently made the decision completely on his own," Yankovic wrote later in the day. "He's sorry. And Gaga loves the song."
So all's weird that ends weird -- and all proceeds from the song and video will go to the Human Rights Campaign.
And in case you were wondering why he went the interwebs route to release the song, that's a little "personal" too.
"Given the circumstances, I have no problem with allowing people to hear it online, because I also have a personal policy not to completely waste my stinking time," he wrote, including the spot-on lyrics, which go a little something like this:
My Mama told me when I was hatched Act like a superstar Save your allowance, buy a bubble dress And someday you will go far Now on red carpets Well, I'm hard to miss The press follows everywhere I go I'll poke your eye out with a dress like this Back off and enjoy the show!
I'm sure my critics will say It's a grotesque display Well, they can bite me, baby I perform this way I might be wearin' Swiss cheese Or maybe covered with bees It doesn't mean I'm crazy I perform this way
"There must have been a misunderstanding because [Gaga] is in no way trying to block the release of the parody," sources close to the singer told TMZ. "She's busy touring and hasn't heard the song yet. Her manager hasn't had a chance to play it for her yet. ... She's a huge Weird Al fan."
Our friends at Pop & Hiss did float the idea that the rejection came because "Born This Way" is already a "thinly veiled" version of Madonna's hit "Express Yourself" and "would simply explode if copied one more time."
Late Wednesday ahead of Yankovic's blog update, his manager Jay Leveysaid permission had in fact been given for "I Perform This Way" to appear on the new album.
What do you think of "I Perform This Way" -- smashing or bashing? Watch above, and tell us in comments.
Photos: Weird Al Yankovic at the 2010 Grammys, right, and Lady Gaga in concert on April 18, 2011, left. It's doubly weird. Credits: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times, left; Rick Diamond / Getty Images, right.
Rebecca Black has received death threats: Take "Friday" off the Web or face the consequences. Who knew bad music could be so dangerous? At any rate, police are on the case.
Anaheim police are looking into a menacing call to Black's management company and an email to her production company, both received in March.
"In essence, the threats were related to getting the music off the Internet or they were going to kill her," Anaheim police spokesman Sgt. Rick Martinez told KCBS. "We can't validate how serious they are, but we do take it seriously."
Black, 13, shot to fame in February with her YouTube upload of "Friday," the infamous tune dubbed by some as the "worst song in history." The video, with more than 111 million views, was shot by Ark Music Factory as part of a $2,000 package paid for by Black's mother.
Despite the parodies and threats, things are looking pretty good for Black. In fact, she now has something in common with the likes of Madonna and Lady Gaga: The guys from "Glee" will cover "Friday" in an upcoming episode.
Lady Gaga's country version of "Born This Way" has sparked the interest of country legend Dolly Parton, who said she's up for a collaboration.
"Maybe we should do something together -- GooGoo and Gaga!" Parton told E News. "You know those GooGoo candy bars in Nashville? I could be Lady GooGoo."
GooGoo or Gaga, we'd love to see what Mother Monster could birth if she's working 9 to 5.
"I think it's great. It's just wonderful. I love her," Parton said of the "Born This Way" remix.
"I think she's great," the 65-year-old singer told the Associated Press. "I've always been very gaudy myself, ever since I started in the business, but I always get a kick out of the crazy stuff she does. But she's very musical, she's very talented actually."
Parton is set to star with Queen Latifah in the film "Joyful Noise," which tells the story of a national choir competition. Her album "Better Day" will be released this summer.
As for Lady Gaga, who is hopefully recovering from that nasty fall off a piano during a performance in Houston, she's also debuted the Bollywood-inspired version of the same single with a sitar introduction produced by Salim-Sulaiman and the media company Desi Hits. Perhaps she should consider titling the song "Born Many Ways."
"I worked with some Indian Producers on 'BORN THIS WAY' to show all the little monsters in India that I appreciate you!" she tweeted. Listen to the remix here.
Gaga, 24, is finishing up her Monster Ball tour in May and will release her highly anticipated "Born This Way" album May 23.
Britney Spears + Rihanna; Britney Spears + Nicki Minaj?? Yep, Spears teamed up separately with the two piping-hot pop divas on projects including remixing Rihanna's mega-hit "S&M" and tapping Minaj for her upcoming "Femme Fatale" tour. We repeat: Britney Spears, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj!
The "S&M" remix debuted Monday on Z-100 radio station in New York, and Rihanna called in to chat about the track that now highlights Spears.
"At first, we didn't know what the song was going to do because of the lyrics, but it became really big on radio and it's No. 1 at Pop this week. In order to do a remix, it had to be major," she told the station. "I asked my fans last week who they wanted me to collaborate with, and Britney was one of the most popular names."
"It's very strange because Britney never does features. It was really amazing that she really wanted to be part of this song. She really liked the song to begin with, but it was a different story when she had to sing it, and she really wanted to be a part of it. So it made it really, really special, because you never see two pop female artists doing songs together anymore," she said. "Just call us 'R&B.' "
Spears even got her own verse on the already provocative track, singing:
Just one night full of sin Feel the pain on your skin Tough, I don't scream mercy It's your time to hurt me Shut me up, gag and bound me 'Cause the pain is my pleasure Nothing comes better
The duet exchanged love on Twitter Tuesday with Rihanna tweeting "@britneyspears one of the biggest worldwide popstars! U gangsta #EPIC."
"You ain't so bad yourself honey..." Spears replied.
Aside from her "S&M" with Rihanna, Spears announced her new tour with another Caribbean queen: Nicki Minaj.
Sources close to the deal have said the "Pink Friday" singer will join the Spears tour since Enrique Iglesias dropped out of the original co-headlining series because of conflicts with his own tour.
Minaj, 26, who hails from Trinidad and Tobago and is known for her quirky red carpet style, is touring with Lil Wayne until the end of April.
The pair will kick off the concert tour June 17 in Sacramento. Tickets go on sale Tuesday.
What do you think of the "S&M" remix -- too major or too messy? And what of Minaj joining Spears -- would you rather it be Enrique? Tell us in comments.
Britney Spears debuted her new "Till the World Ends" music video Wednesday, and it's clear she could use some disaster preparedness classes. But leave it to the pop princess to find a way to dance through the apocalypse.
As the screen flashes "December 21st 2012," Spears and her friends drop down a manhole as the buildings start to crumble. The bunker (or is it a sewer system?) quickly turns into a mass of pulsating bodies with the singer gyrating front and center.
Spears will take those dance moves on the road starting in June with her national tour to promote her new album "Femme Fatal," which is currently No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Brit is still looking for a co-headliner after Enrique Iglesias backed out on her last week.