Rihanna Defends Controversial 'Man Down' Video, But Is It Really Art? (POLL)

VOTE: Rihanna's 'Man Down' Video: Art Or Exploitation?

Rihanna's new video for her song, "Man Down," has become the focus of an exchange between the artist and media watchdog groups like the Parents Television Council. The video, in which the singer's character shoots a man in the head, goes on to depict the events--including an implied rape--that led up to the murder.

Rihanna initially responded to criticism via twitter with a series of messages, including: "U can't hide your kids from society,or they'll never learn how to adapt!This is the REAL WORLD!"

Later, she appeared on the BET program 106 & Park, calling the video "art with a message," and saying, "I wanted to make a mini-movie, something raw and artistic. And if I can be a voice for so many that aren’t heard, then I win twice."

ABC News quotes Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who was among the video's critics: "we would hope that Rihanna and her music label would consider the potential impact of sending a message that violence should beget more violence."

Rihanna, herself a victim of domestic violence during a much-publicized incident with R&B singer and then boyfriend Chris Brown, insisted that the video had a "very strong underlying message 4 girls like me."

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