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Rihanna's 'Man Down' video lands gunslinging singer, BET in hot water with advocacy groups


Rihanna has found herself in the center of controversy again over one of her music videos.

Before premiering the video to her latest single, the reggae-tinged revenge ode “Man Down,” on BET's "106 & Park" on Tuesday, the singer took to Twitter to say it would have a "very strong underlying message 4 girls like me."

It’s that message -- which shows her killing a man who's assaulted her -- that has drawn the ire of a collective of advocacy groups that work, in part, to combat violent imagery in media.

The Parents Television Council, along with Industry Ears and the Enough Is Enough Campaign, joined together to “condemn” the video and urge Viacom, BET's parent company, to pull it off the air.

In a statement, Paul Porter, co-founder of Industry Ears and a former music programmer for BET, described "Man Down" as "an inexcusable, shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song. In my 30 years of viewing BET, I have never witnessed such a cold, calculated execution of murder in primetime. Viacom’s standards and practices department has reached another new low.” The statement continued: “If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass and BET should know better. The video is far from broadcast-worthy.”

The clip begins with the singer shooting a man, who is shown dead in a pool of blood, before flashing back to the previous day, where she hung out with friends, went clubbing and on the way home was accosted in a dark alley by the same guy. It is implied that he sexually assaulted her.

Although the video easily conjures a rather gruesome narrative of revenge, and quick speculation that it was inspired by Brown's assault on Rihanna, the council specifically blasted BET after it premiered the clip.

“ ‘Man Down’ is a clear violation of BET’s own programming guidelines shared with the public by Debra Lee, the chairman and CEO of BET Networks. I join with the Parents Television Council and Industry Ears in calling on Viacom executives to immediately pull the video from programs that are targeted to youth and teenagers,” said Pastor Delman Coates, founder of the Enough Is Enough Campaign.

BET previously banned Kanye West’s “Monster,” Ciara’s “Ride” and Teairra Mari’s “Sponsor.”

Despite Rihanna's clip for “S&M” getting the ax in 11 countries, BET didn’t cut it -- though Lee said in a recent interview that the network was “working” with the singer on her videos.

Though Rihanna didn't address the fallout, she thanked fans for "getting" the video.

"Young girls/women all over the world...we are a lot of things! We're strong innocent fun flirtatious vulnerable, and sometimes our innocence can cause us to be naïve! We always think it could NEVER be us, but in reality, it can happen to ANY of us! So ladies be careful and #listentoyomama! I love you and I care!," she wrote.

Watch the video below and tell us what you think:

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Twitter.com / gerrickkennedy

Photo: Screenshot from Rihanna's "Man Down" video.

Comments () | Archives (56)

Video is too violent.. Very disturbing video.. A video about rape, murder, and being sexaul all at once is too much for a music video... Rhianna has lost her mind.. I don't like people promoting murder. I am so worried for the youth that views this video...

Wow so BET can play videos thats has sex and drugs all through it... but they cant play a video about rape? Thats stupid!

What is wrong with this video? You see worse than this on TV and in the movies. Give Rihanna a break and find something constructive to do with your time. Why all this attention now, there are a lot of videos that they should have protested against. Also the brutal beating, violent attack of Chris brown, their poster boy.

i totally support this video. there are countless songs and video's about murder. this video brings to light an issue that needs to be discussed! instead of trying to ban the video why not have educational programs to aid the video teaching young girls about sexual assault and abuse and the various places they can get help if it does happen to them! people always want to find the bad in things! im not even a rihanna fan but i commend her on touching this subject and i appreciate the video! bottom line the issue of sexual abuse should be highlighted and that highly outweighs the so called violence in the video which news flash children r seeing a lot more violence than that in video games television movies. so why target a video that is to help awareness of sexual assault. clearly these people are attacking the wrong thing!

It's not okay for this woman to shoot a man in a video, but what about the video where she not only has a gun ready to shoot, she is straddling a tank, and wearing a mickey mouse hat???? When I was watching mtv, guns were banned altogether. What Happened????? THIS IS A DISGRACE. If I had kids I would be UP IN ARMS over media today. Glorified hookers singin and dancin with guns and poison, swat teams and soldiers. Gettin the little ones ready for the world that the delusional elite want. Perpetual Control Over Your Soul............. Well I say SHUT IT DOWN>

y'all need to leave her alone the more y'all talk bad about her and her music the more famous she becomes and i love her yall always have some negative to say towards her leave her alone and get a life

I really don't see anything wrong with the video. It's nothing that is not seen on all the major tv stations today. And with all these latenight cartoons that come on fox someone is allways being shot. Law&Order SVU somebody is always being raped and sometimes they kill the attacker so why be mad about this let it play

Rihanna is an artist. Music is a form of expression as well as entertainment. I appreciate the fact that people are allowed to express what they may really feel in healthy ways as opposed to actuality. Of course many females have been in this unfortunate situation, and most likely some have thought of retaliation. What people fail to realize is that for every action there is a reaction sooner or later, what has been reaped, will be sowed and at the end of it all...everything passes. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has opinions. We All have thought of something inappropriate at one time or another, expressing it and acting on it will All-ways have a consequence. Mad props to those who understand themselves so not to fear ;)

this is sooo redicules talking bout ooh BET should know better my but this is a amazing video just leave it alone

Kids these days end up seeing and knowing about most of the worse terrors in the world by an early age anyway. I have a cousin who is 8 years old and already knows about rape and murder. It is only a problem if the viewers end up thinking that it is "okay" to do this over minor situations. If you think about it, ever since game consoles and computers were invented, there were games that had violence in it, fighting, shooting etc. and it was streamed all over the internet, tv, advertisments. In my opinion this is just a video full of personal experience, like all other songs are, the only difference is that it's actually true. I'm not a big fan of Rihanna but how would you feel if you were sexually assulted? Would you hate the person? She just took it too far and got outta hand, in the music lyrics she says that she didn't mean too, after the stuff she's gone through I can understand why she did it. Now she has to live with that guilt for the rest of her life and has probably lost alot of respect from her fans, and she's probably aware of that but is willing to live with it.

This video serves a social need. The singer plays with children under a clothesline, comforts a woman sitting alone on a porch, and then chills out in a club. This is everyday life. And rape happens every day, too, but it doesn't get talked about. This is why girls can be so naive. People may complain it's not fair that men can't shoot women on TV, so why does this artist think women can shoot men? But the two sexes are not equal in this society, and they're not easily exchanged. The fact of the matter is that men commit violent acts on women at an alarming rate. Women do not return the favor in equal measure. We regulate violence on television because we think violent images inspire violence. But that's not all they do. Sometimes they inspire people to consider the possibility that someone out there might hurt them, and they should be prepared. Given women's history, it seems highly unlikely women will ever "return the favor" to men. But if this video helps some girl or woman protect herself from being harmed--better yet, if it makes some boy or man think twice before he decides to bully or rape someone--then it's doing a great job for us.

You see so much worse than this on TV. I don't know why people are freaking out.

There are lots of people in the world who do that they didnt need a music video to motivate them to shoot someone

this video shows us what we try to pretend doesn't go on in the world and yet it does. thumbs up and standing ovation to riri for getting this out there. even bet bans it now..youtube will have it up. it's a powerful message. watchin it i got knots in my stomach cos it was riri's face, someone we know, it wasn't jsut a random "21 yo girl got ssexually assaulted after a night of clubbin" cos that just implies and generates thoughts of she was drunk, dressed slutty and asking for it. guess what you can be slutty n flirty. that does not give ANY man the right to think you want to sleep with him. so i dont care that she looks sexy in this vid. that's the message in this video that we're missing out on.

I like the video. Go Rihanna.

I like this video...its entertainment with a meaning..its art..you see much worse on an episode of LAw and Ordr

I liked the video. To these groups protesting the video and the guns and "violence" in the video...GET A LIFE! So she popped her rapist in the video. I would of done the same thing except I would of walked in front of him and shot him in the face. You don't see anything in this video that hasnt already been put into a movie. YOU GO RIRI!!! To the people that don't like "violence" why don't you censor what YOU and YOUR children watch and stop trying to stop what is purely just entertainment for the rest of us.

OH FOR GODS SAKE. Where are people's heads? This video brings to light an issue that women face all around the world. You arn't helping your kids by sheltering them from the truth. They'll just grow up ignorant.

Babyface's song how come how long comes to mind. In his video he didn't show exactly how the abuser died he just showed him lying on the ground but we know that the woman he was abusing killed him since the police led her away.. Based on the words she is calling herself a criminal which means she is not condoning what she just did....she mentions jail which means that she is letting us know that there will still be consequences..I personally do not see anything wrong with the video..If there's something wrong many TV programs need to be banned too....

I am a fan of the singer, and parent to a 12 yr old daughter and 8 yr old son. I was disturbed by the lyrics of her hit "S &M", (never saw the video) and now I feel sorry that Rhianna feels the need to sell her music thru sheer sensationalism. She is a great singer, but not a role model I want for my daughter. I can control the tv shows and movies my kids watch, but I don't like feeling that I have to police the music videos they watch. This young woman was victimized by Chris Brown and we all felt appalled by her situation, but it seems to me that everything she's done since then has been for the shock value. If BET and other stations cannot keep these videos out of prime-time I will block them and no longer let my kids view them.

Well she certainly is raking in publicity for this one, dragging out her drama from over two years ago. I have admired Chris Brown for working hard these past two years at putting his life and career back together, and this is another major slap in his face. He has been slugged enough for two years. She was slugged once and she has milked it.

Still trying to find out the issue with this video. There are videos that have loads of women being portrayed in a negative light, drugs, money that most do not have, cars that are rented, chains that are borrowed from jewlers, and pants that can't stay up. Finally a refreshing video and I am not even a fan of Rhianna.

I don't like Rihanna, the video or see how she is bringing "issues" everyone is talking about to light. I think it glorifies the whole think murder is murder and our society teaches justice not revenge. She's so dark and tortured, she needs to promote healing. As a young woman (25) I have been in some dark moments but I do not give them power by wallowing in it. But she is making money off of promoting her past so it is what it is.... But I don't think it appropriate for a mainstream artist.

The video may be shocking and rough, but we as parents can decide what we want our kids to watch and also are responsible for their education.

That's what is so wrong with us, we want everyone else to take RESPONSIBILITY on everything where we should take our share.

and are these the same morons that go out & buy the music of the Chris Brown? Why not have a bigger issue with the one who assaulted her ? He is the criminal, not her.

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