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Rihanna Defends 'Man Down' Video's Violent Scenes

'U can't hide your kids from society, or they'll never learn how to adapt!' singer tweets.
By Gil Kaufman


A day after the Parents Television Council and other groups decried the violent murder scene in her new "Man Down" video, Rihanna took to the air and to Twitter to defend her clip from detractors.

"I'm a 23 year old rock star with NO KIDS! What's up with everybody wantin me to be a parent? I'm just a girl, I can only be your/our voice!" she wrote on Thursday. "Cuz we all know how difficult/embarrassing it is to communicate touchy subject matters to anyone especially our parents! And this is why! ... Cuz we turn the other cheek! U can't hide your kids from society, or they'll never learn how to adapt! This is the REAL WORLD! ... 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 don't turn out like US."

The PTC took issue with the opening scene in the video, in which Rihanna is shown shooting an unarmed man in the back of the head in the middle of a crowded train station. Viewers later learn that the act was in retaliation for a previous sexual assault.

The PTC, the Enough Is Enough campaign and the entertainment think tank Industry Ears released a statement on Wednesday condemning the video for what the group said was an apparent enticement to young women to turn to violence.

" 'Man Down' is an inexcusable, shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song," said Industry Ears co-founder Paul Porter.

The PTC lamented that Rihanna had a "golden opportunity" to use her celebrity status to send an important message to young girls and victims of rape and domestic violence with the clip, but had missed the mark. "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," said the PTC's Melissa Henson.

The singer later pleaded with her fans to stop making threats against members of the PTC, writing, "We love it, they don't ... that is all, and the world keeps turning."

She also called in to the BET show "106 & Park" on Thursday night to defend the clip, saying she didn't set out to spark any controversy, but isn't surprised she did.

"Rape is, unfortunately, happening all over the world and in our own homes, and we continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn't happen," Rihanna said. "Boys and girls feel compelled to be embarrassed about it and hide it from everyone, including their teachers, their parents and their friends. That only continues to empower the abusers."