By Stephanie Lomas – Reporter
So far in 2015 Rihanna is the second most Googled female celebrity, only being beaten by the original pop princess herself, Britney Spears. As most celebrities are aware their fame and fortune comes with a responsibility to their fans. When Rihanna began her career in 2005, she was a young Bajan girl who had grown up listening to Reggae music and struggled with her father’s long term substance addiction, which no doubt has influenced her music. But how much of her creativity can truly be attributed to her upbringing. The answer is not a lot.
Rihanna has always been on trend when it comes to her music, but in recent years she has been in the line of fire due to her move to more controversial adult content with her music video for ‘Pour it up’ being banned within 10 minutes of it being uploaded to YouTube. With that in mind should we truly be surprised at her new music video for “Bitch Better Have My Money”.
The video is a violent mash-up of unoriginal ideas from movies past and present such as Carrie, Boogie Nights and Weekend at Bernie’s, which on their own would be deemed violent. However, when you put them together they make The Human Centipede look like Disney’s Bugs Life.
As a law student I saw the following crimes glamourised and encouraged in the pursuit of making a successful music video; kidnap, false imprisonment, arson, possession/supply of controlled drug, assault, actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, criminal damage, sexual assault by touching, and murder.
As a victim of domestic violence, I thought that Rihanna would be very sensitive with any portrayal of violence but she instead glorified it. With a target audience of 12-17 year olds and an overall demographic of 12-25+, I think it is extremely important to acknowledge that the part of the brain that is able to control our behaviours, emotions and personality doesn’t fully develop until the age of twenty-five which is the upper limit of Rihanna’s demographic. These are not the actions of a celebrity who cares for the wellbeing of her fans – the people who funded her success.
I shared this video with a range of ages, from 60 all the way down to 20, and I must admit that the reactions given were not surprising. The older viewers couldn’t watch the entire video, stating that “it was horrendous! It made me feel sick to my stomach!” and a younger viewer noted: “The sad thing is that most people who watch this won’t really feel anything. The state of the media these days, we’ve all become desensitised to acts that would’ve been deemed ‘shocking’ 10 years ago.”
Yes, there are security checks in place to make sure those under 18’s can’t view the video, but with over 80% of kids lying about their age to sign up to things, can we really safeguard them from videos which are bound to scare them silly?
All in all there are two lessons to be learnt by this video. First of all, Rihanna should rethink either her age demographic or her choice of music directors. And secondly, never, ever, get on the wrong side of Rihanna!