Man Down – Rihanna

Rihanna has released a new video and it’s generating some controversy.  Warning: There is Graphic Violence at the very beginning of the video and a graphic pic at the end of this post.

I didn’t mean to end his life
I know it wasn’t right
I can’t even sleep at night
Can’t get it off my mind
I need to get out of sight
Before I end up behind bars

What started out as a simple altercation
Turned into a real sticky situation
Me just thinking on the time that I’m facing
Makes me wanna cry

‘Cause I didn’t mean to hurt him
Could’ve been somebody’s son
And I took his heart when
I pulled out that gun

Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Man down
Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Man down

Oh, mama, mama, mama
I just shot a man down
In central station
In front of a big old crowd
Oh why, oh why
Oh, mama, mama, mama
I just shot a man down
In central station

Little 22, I call her Peggy Sue
When she fits right down in my shoes
What do you expect me to do
If you’re playing me for a fool
I will lose my cool
And reach for my fire arm

I didn’t mean to lay him down
But it’s too late to turn back now
Don’t know what I was thinking
Now he’s no longer living
So I’m ’bout to leave town

‘Cause I didn’t mean to hurt him
Could’ve been somebody’s son
And I took his heart when
I pulled out that gun

Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum

Rum bum bum bum
Man down
Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Man down

Oh, mama, mama, mama
I just shot a man down
In central station
In front of a big old crowd
Oh why, oh why
Oh, mama, mama, mama
I just shot a man down
In central station

Look, I never thought I’d do it
Never thought I’d do it
Never thought I’d do it, oh gosh
What ever happened to me
Ever happened to me, ever happened to me
Why did I pull the trigger
Pull the trigger, pull the trigger, boom
And end a nigga, end a niggas life so soon
When me pull the trigger, pull the trigger, pull it ‘pon you
Somebody tell me what I’m gonna, what I’m gonna do

Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Me say wah man down (A weh me say)
Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
Rum bum bum bum
When me went downtown

‘Cause now I am a criminal, criminal, criminal
Oh lord have mercy now I am a criminal
Man down
Tell the judge please give me minimal
Run out of town,
None of them can see me now, see me now

Oh, mama, mama, mama
I just shot a man down
In central station
In front of a big old crowd
Oh why, oh why
Oh, mama, mama, mama
I just shot a man down
In central station

[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/man-down-lyrics-rihanna.html ]

I am a fan of this one.  It’s one of her best to date.  It starts out with her shooting a man in a crowded area in broad daylight.  Take a good look at the expression on her face right before the shot and again right afterwards.

The video then takes you back to “yesterday” and you see her innocence as you get pulled into the chill vibe of the island (the video is shot in Jamaica).

As she’s exiting a liquor store, she pats a boy on the head and you see those shoes with the green crew socks and the ankle tatoo.  LOVE IT!!!!  Next we see her at a local stand where an islander cracks open a coconut with a machete, hands it to her and off she goes sipping her “Coconut Water” with a straw.  In the next scene she greets a woman on the street and kisses her on the cheek as she’s on her way to another care free lazy Caribbean day. Take a good look at this scene and you can see the product placement on the posters that are on the wall behind her (Rihanna just signed on as spokes person for Vita Coco Water)

Next she’s on the beach with a group of boys jumping in the surf, playing ball and having a blast (there is one scene, however, where the boys have a troubled look on their face foreshadowing the danger to come).   The next shot is at  the club, where she’s absorbed in the reggae groove of the place and doing her “thang.”  In a minute she eyes a sort of bad boy guy and he approaches seductively.  They hook up for a second but she decides she’s not interested, rebuffs him and saunters out of the club.  Note how happy and care free she is as she leaves.

The guy also leaves the club asking a patron standing outside which direction she went.  He then follows her to an isolated location and proceeds to sexually assault her.  She tries to fight back but he’s too powerful and she eventually has to submit to his desires.  Running back home, now frightened, confused and robbed of her care free days, she goes through the dresser and finds her gun “Peggy Sue.”

The video debuted on BET and apparently the Parents Television Council (PTC) wasn’t happy with it.  They say the scene at the beginning is “cold, calculated execution of murder.”  They also stated “If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass.”

Here is Rihanna’s response on Twitter:

“I’m a 23 year old rockstar 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!”  “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! Its your job to make sure they dont turn out like US.”

I think Rihanna has struck gold with this one.  She’s experienced an unwanted physical assault first hand, did not initially want to press charges against Chris Brown, let alone murder him.

Image: Alleged photo of beaten Rihanna

So yes I think she does get a pass here.  She is using art to imitate life and putting something out there that will spark a discussion about assault and its impact on women.

‘Cause now I am a criminal, criminal, criminal
Oh lord have mercy now I am a criminal
Man down
Tell the judge please give me minimal
Run out of town,
None of them can see me now, see me now’

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One thought on “Man Down – Rihanna

  1. I understand her position and I can see the point the Council is trying to make. At the end of the day why do we expect these artistes “art creators” to grow our children?

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