Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
Well that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
Well that’s alright because I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie
—Rhianna’s chorus, Love the Way You Lie
No matter what key you sing it in, those are some controversial lyrics. This Eminem and Rhianna ditty also ranks #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, Rap, and Ringtones lists for the past 10 weeks. Those are the words kids have been listening to on TV, in heavy rotation, and every time their phone Pavlovianly rings for two and-a-half months during their summer break by two of the most popular and controversial music artists around. After Rhianna’s beating by ex-Disney ex- Chris Brown earlier this year, how do you feel about her serenading your kids that she likes how it hurts by her B/F? What about the perennial down and hard-core Eminem’s so-called cleaned up self coming back after a three year hiatus crooning:
Don’t you hear sincerity in my voice when I talk?
Told you this is my fault, look me in the eyeball
Next time I’m pissed, I’ll aim my fist at the drywall
Next time? There won’t be no next time
I apologize, even though I know it’s lies
I’m tired of the games, I just want her back. I know I’m a liar
If she ever tries to fuckin’ leave again,
I’ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire
I’m just gonna
One mommy of tween girls is disgusted by the abuse of Rhianna’s powerful sway over young girls (and women much older) and says, “These women have not only personal responsibility, but a professional responsibility. I get that Rihanna may not actually have a clue about the effects of what she’s putting out there just by her personal life—patterns of abusive men 1) manager who stole all her money, 2) Chris Brown 3) new boyfriend accused of abusing his last girlfriend—but let’s face it, a song condoning getting hit and threatened by a boyfriend should clearly register with her brain as this is not an ok message to send. You know, that’s why there are laws that you can’t tell people to kill someone or commit violence on the radio or TV. People listen to this info from celebs and think differently about it. Crazy, silly and scary…but true. And let’s be real, Rihanna is no one our girls should be emulating.”
While another friend and mommy of teenaged girls tells me, “Is he rapping it for her or is she singing it for him or vice versa. They both lived it, the day it happened, my girls took Chris Brown off their iPods and he’s never been back. They think she’s watching this happen to her but because she THINKS thier love is so intense, she makes excuses but eventually, she gets burned (not literally) cause she’s only fooling herself. For him, he knows he can lie and she will stay until he can’t live with himself for doing this but won’t live without her, not so far fetched…..sadly. The message is, look what’s happening if you’re on the outside, this is what it looks like, wake up or this can happen.”
I think clearly there is an age and guidance issue at hand — hey!, maybe that old Tipper Gore’s Parental Advisory thing wasn’t sooo far off the mark, despite its (lower case) nazi tendencies. I very much doubt 11-year old PopSmartie pants would have thought this was a pro-violence song, but that would be directly because of the world I live/-ed in. What about those of a malleable age who live in homes with less responsible adult guidance, environments and school cliches where it’s considered “strong” to be abusive, and so many other places where it’s awesome just to have a man…any man?
Hear it & watch it and sound off in Comments.
Image: Aftermath Records
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