Rihanna shares directing credit with Leo Berne, who co-directed the video through his video collective Megaforce.
“It was never something that we were aiming for but it is a part of the story,” he told Slant. “The video reflects the imagery of the track. The kidnapping, nudity, and violence all reflect the spirit of the track.”
That’s not exactly an answer. But the video is certainly no more graphic or violent than a Quentin Tarantino film. Nor is it something totally unexpected from the Barbadian singer, who has dabbled in gangsta’ imagery throughout her career.
The question is really whether Rihanna is making a social statement. And if so, what is it?
It’s hard to find any socially redeeming messages, but it’s possible to see it as a statement on how the professional class, lawyers, accountants, doctors and stockbrokers, take advantage of everyone else who is forced to trust them.
After all, the villain in the piece is Rihanna’s accountant, who apparently is holding out on her. Her only recourse is to kidnap his self-absorbed wife and put her through the ringer to force him to pay up.
The woman is stripped of all her clothes, tortured and also forced to get drunk and high with Rihanna. Now, that’s torture. The singer also ends up naked and covered in blood.
Rihanna was suitably proud of her work. “Ya girl got director skillz!!! she shouted out on Instagram. “The concept for this piece came to me 8 months ago!!! So you can imagine how anxious I am right now!!!”
Berne, fishing for answers, said the video had a Bonnie and Clyde aspect to it. After all they made “robberies cool,” he explained.
So that’s it. Rihanna is the anti-hero striking out, when all else fails, against the people who rig the game to suit themselves.
One thing is certain: Rihanna really knows how to draw a crowd. The video was released July 1 and already has more than 10.6 million views.
Check out the video below. We can’t wait to hear your analysis of the video. Be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest music news.
Warning: Shocking, NSFW content.