Check out this article from the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Rihanna’s “Man Down” video & the Cycle of Violence. Excerpt:
Perhaps Rihanna is not advocating an eye for an eye, but instead depicting a far too common reality. When we are hurt, scared or angry, those emotions can feel so overwhelming we chose to release them as we have seen countless others do: with words, fists, or bullets. Often times we feel that it wasn’t a choice. That the feelings coursing through our body are so consuming that we act without awareness. This is not an excuse for behavior. Redemption and change happen when we own not only our actions but also the feelings that preceded them. When the conviction is born that each of us can only effect change through ourselves. That the only way to end violence is to take responsibility for one’s feelings, thoughts and actions, and choose to act from a place of nonviolence, not necessarily because the perpetrator doesn’t deserve it, or because you forgive them, or because your heart is full of love, butsimply because you don’t want your loved ones to be the recipients of violence. Only when we can see that what we do to others we do to ourselves, to those we love, will we all chose to end the pervasive violence in the world.
Is Rihanna saying this? We can’t know. I believe that rather than making a definitive stance, Rihanna is presenting us with a scenario to ponder, to question, and to challenge our notions of not only what is, but what could be.