I can believe that victims of abuse go through many stages in order to come to terms with what happened to them. Part of that process could be feeling like you want to wipe the abuser off the face of the earth. Ultimately though, we don't need to build a sophisticated argument as to why that would be the worst type of revenge. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Or do they? In this case, a controversial new music video which rakes up the past could well continue the upward trajectory of her album sales. The world and her hard-core young female fans are reminded of what she has come through and how she is far from being a victim. It all points in the right direction to her "vulnerable bad girl" image. Rihanna tweeted out yesterday that the video was a warning for her young girl fans, "it can happen to any of us! So ladies, be careful and #listentoyomama!"
Playing the part of a young flirtatious girl who ends up a victim of abuse is a strong message for many of her followers. Undoubtedly she is in a unique position to educate her fans about keeping themselves safe. However, she presented them the worst possible outcome: murder.
This is not the first time Rihanna has put her domestic violence experience in a song. Both "Love the Way You Lie" with Eminem and "All the Lights" with Kanye West dealt with the issue. With their melodic beat and poignant lyrics, both singles added a heavy weight hammer blow to the nails in the coffin of Chris Brown's career. Was there anything left to say?
What she could have said to her fans was this: if you are a victim of abuse, don't let it pull you down into its criminal world. Fight back in a smart way. Go to the police. Tell a friend or a relation. Admittedly, those are pretty hard lyrics to put an R&B beat to and have a hit single with, but the "Man Down" video could and should have had a better message.
How about bring a "man down" by giving him five years probation, a restraining order, killing his career and then add the final ego crushing blow by becoming one of the best selling artists of all time based on your sheer, undeniable force of talent. Then again, hasn't she already said that?