The one thing I will say about this “We Found Love” video is that it’s A REAL VIDEO without the overuse of a greenscreen (finally!). With that said, Rihanna should stop using Chris Brown to sell CDs. We’ve seen Rihanna portray domestic violence in “The Way You Lie” and now the question comes up again with her new video “We Found Love.” Does Rihanna romanticize and hypersexualize domestic violence? My curiosity from the buzz all over twitter led me to watch this video. For days now, I see tweets and comments about how great Rihanna’s new video is. “OMG it’s so artistic” or “Rihanna loves Chris.” Aside from the artistic aesthetics, domestic violence and drug use is shown as a sexy and romantic part of a “healthy” relationship (whatever that means).
A recent study shows that 70% of black women are not married compared to 45% of white women. This could be attributed to a number of reasons. In the golden age of television, domestic abuse was never depicted as a problem in society. The family was romanticized to appear perfect in the popular imagination. Now it’s common knowledge: the black family is dysfunctional. Rihanna is not the cause or effect of domestic violence. However, it’s becoming her brand. Rihanna is the survivor exploiting Chris Brown for whatever reason (most likely for a sympathetic fanbase coupled with record sales). She’s inadvertently transforming Chris Brown into the victim. (I’m not picking sides. I hate them both).
One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. One third of female murder victims are killed by their intimate partner. More times than not, women stay in these abusive relationships. Now Rihanna is making these relationships seem like the norm as if she’s saying “beat me #soiknowitsreal”. In “The Way You Lie,” the domestic violence was so hypersexualized you’re confused whether she liked it rough or underwent so much psychological trauma she blurred the lines between domestic violence and rough sex. Misery loves company. She’s making yall feel for her and it’s fueling her career now.
Karl Marx said, “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” Domestic violence is an old issue. Rihanna (amongst every celebrity) has a social responsibility to speak out against injustice rather than reinforce stereotypes and exploit social issues. She has an opportunity to repress. Instead, she romanticizes and hypersexualizes abuse.
P.S. Beyonce fans and Rihanna fans are all the same.