Rihanna talks “Man Down”

Lately Rihanna has been catching it from every angle on her new video “Man Down”. Continuing to defend her work, Ri Ri called into BET’s 106 & Park and spoke on the creative concept behind the video, how she doesn’t condone violence, and the want to be a voice for the unheard.

On the Creative Concept
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 have ever before. And I knew that only Anthony Mandler would be able to master this particular project for me. We work together on almost all of my videos and there’s a certain level of trust that goes into making a video like this one, like a mini-movie. Never play it safe, not here, ever. [laughs] We always push each other further and further out of the box. It’s gotta be deeper, it’s gotta be clever, it’s gotta be more twisted.

‘Man Down’ is a song about a girl who has committed a murder that she regrets, and is completely remorseful about. You hear her crying to her mama, saying why she did it, [that it] could’ve been somebody’s son, she didn’t mean to hurt him. Making that into a mini-movie or video, we needed to go back to why it happened. Obviously she’s not a cold-blooded killer. It had to be something so offensive, and we decided to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address. Especially if you’ve been victimized in this scenario. Rape…unfortunately it’s happening all over the world and right in our own homes. We continue to cover it up and pretend like it doesn’t happen. Girls and boys 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.

I personally don’t condone violence or murder at all. I’ve been abused in the past and you don’t see me running around killing people in my spare time. [chuckles] I just want girls to be careful. I want..you know, have fun, be flirtatious, be sassy, be innocent and sweet. Be everything that you are, but just try not to be naive. And that’s not coming from a parent but a peer. I’m one of you guys and as much as you don’t want to believe it, we go through the same stuff. Don’t be afraid to talk about it.

On the Controversy
I didn’t go into it to make a controversial video. I wanted to make a mini-movie, something raw and artistic. If I can be a voice for so many that aren’t heard, then I win twice. Look at how it’s effecting people. Girls are empowered by this. It’s easy to turn it to something negative but 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 and they need a voice sometimes. If I can do that, then I’ve done my job.