The song “Man Down” by Rihanna has been very controversial this year since the music video was released. The story line behind the song and music video is about this young women living in what seems like a lower class section of society. She was sexually assaulted by a man in an alleyway and in turn shot and killed him. The chorus demonstrates that the young women shot this man in a public area and she is now regretting her actions. She is feeling bad for taking this mans life and afraid of the punishment awaiting her. At first the music video comes across as potentially disturbing because in the very beginning it shows Rihanna shooting a man in the back of the head and blood everywhere. After viewing the video and lyrics through a sociological lens I noticed many themes that may have contributed to the deeper meaning of the song. This particular video brings up many themes of privilege and social control, specifically with violence in lower socioeconomic classes, demonstrated in African American culture.
In this music video there are many stereotypes that are supported and some that are challenged. First of all there is not a single white person in the video and the people that are represented are portrayed as stereotypical African Americans. Most noticeably is the area they are in is clearly a poor with cracked streets, graffiti all over the walls and holes in peoples windows. The men in the video are dressed in baseball caps and baggy clothing and the women are all wearing scandalous dresses and revealing tee shirts. The most important stereotype that is portrayed is the use of violence and weapons amongst African Americans.
The main premise of this song is about killing and violence. Multiple times throughout the music video a guns is presented and not only by the Rihanna, but by others as well. This demonstrates that in this lower class African American society it is acceptable and almost expected that people carry guns or a weapon of some kind and...
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