Aliah Williamson | Copy Desk
Rihanna continues to please fans and shock the world with her artistic expression. This time with the release of her video released on July 1 for “B*tch Better Have My Money.” The twitter-verse exploded with excitement over the video, with users either excitedly tweeting about how cutting-edge the video was or criticizing Rihanna for her extreme violence.
Many feminists also cut into Rihanna, condemning her overuse of the B-word and showcasing violence against other women. Bad Gal RiRi for one, does not give a flip what people think about her and is relaying a message in her usual butt-kicking, take no prisoners way. Too many have been taking the video for it’s literal interpretation and not expanding their minds to understand exactly what it is that Rihanna is trying to expose to us.
Reaching 17 million views in 5 days, the video features Rihanna as a strong and sexy mob boss who kidnaps a pretty and opulently rich woman with the help of two equally erotic and exotic cohorts,. The video continues as they travel the country with their hostage in tow while implied violence and nudity ensue.
At the end of the video we discover that the hostage is the wife of Rihanna’s incompetent accountant who has caused her to go bankrupt while he parties with naked women and showers them in cash. Understandably, Rihanna is not happy with this and punishes him the way any crazy, deranged, blood-thirst woman would.
Interestingly enough the objects of Rihanna’s rage and revenge are Caucasian. It brings to mind the current state of the entertainment industry where people of color use their talents and abilities to make extreme amounts of money that is in turn handled by Caucasian agents, accountants and producers. Many a singer or athlete has been shown to be making millions of dollars, but end up broke, bankrupt and in other dire financial situations.
The entertainment industry has often been equated to modern day slavery. Rihanna has made it clear that she will take no more of this. According to TMZ Rihanna has been facing financial struggles due to her “bone-headed accountant” who lost her millions. Rihanna makes it clear, whether literal or figurative. what she will do to a B*tch (be it male or female) if they continue to trifle with her money. She has made a point that needed to be said, if not for the good of her African-American colleagues in the industry, then for her financially illiterate brothers and sisters.
Why exactly is Rihanna’s video being criticized? As far as one can see, it contains no more nudity, sex, violence, drugs or blood than your run of the mill R-rated movie! Alexandria Richards, a Journalism major from Howard County, MD said, “I loved it but it’s not that gory at all. It’s what you would see on any crime show.” Rihanna’s use of the B-word was also heavily condemned, but after watching the video you will understand that she is not using the word to put down other women.
The disparagement of Rihanna and the video stars choice of scanty outfits misses a major point. Throughout the video, no matter what the women are wearing (or not wearing) they are not doing it to be sexually attractive to another male. They are wearing what they want out of a sense of confidence and independence.
It is very empowering to see the difference. To take the video for face value, and not even assume or guess that Rihanna is using artistic expression to make a point is hypocritical. Great entertainers such as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Madonna have showcased videos with questionable violence and scary threats, but those were not taken seriously. We do not label those women as misogynists or expect that they might be secret, psycho killers.
For years Rihanna has shown herself to be a powerhouse with a serious DGAF attitude. Taylor Williams, a Junior Geographical Information Systems major from Baltimore, MD said, “I feel Rihanna really tries to emphasize her power as a woman in this world where men are seen as the go-getters and hustlers. She’s like ‘I am a woman who is about my business so respect me, but if you don’t I will get mine regardless’.” Leah Joseph, a Junior from Columbia, MD said “She’s a boss as* b*tch and that’s why I love her. Her whole look as an artist and her music portrays that perfectly.”
As for the video itself, some thought the video was largely overhyped and didn’t portray as much sexploitation as critics had made it seem. In the seven-minute video, there is a lot to decipher and discuss, whether about feminism, racism, money, the entertainment industry or any number of other controversial topics. Despite the naysayers and crying feminists, cheers to Rihanna for taking a stand, doing what she wants and sending a serious message to whoever may cross her.