Singer Rihanna
Singer Rihanna performs during half-time of the NBA All-Star basketball game in Los Angeles, February 20, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Pop star Rihanna's latest video, 'Man Down' has sparked a controversy involving explicitly violent and raunchy videos being broadcast on television, uncensored, as the Parents Television Council (PTC) appealed to the BET (Black Entertainment Television) network to ban the video. The video, premiered on BET last Tuesday, shows Rihanna murdering a man near a crowded railway station in what looks like a premeditated event. As the video progresses in flashback, Rihanna is seen sexually assaulted by the man outside a pub, from the point of view of the victim in a harrowing sequence.

PTC alleged that Man Down glorified murder, and instead of telling the victims to seek help, the video encouraged victims to murder the offenders. The Council is calling for a complete ban of the clip. Though the council has been able to garner support in getting the video pulled out, BET isn't planning to budge. A BET spokesperson reportedly said that the network has a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines that are applied to all of our content. The Rihanna 'Man Down' video complied with these guidelines and was approved for air.

Though the video has been called an inexcusable, shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song, by BET's former music programmer, Paul Porter, a section of people has voiced their support to Rihanna in her endeavor to showcase the trauma of assault victims. Rihanna has been in news after she was brutally attacked by her then boyfriend Chris Brown, in September 2009, after a pre-Grammy party bash. She was reported to have sustained injuries with bloodied face and arms. After the attack Chris Brown fled the scene leaving behind Rihanna unconscious in a silver Lamborghini in Los Angeles. She received help only after a passerby reported the crime to 911 sometime later.

Activists and feminism activists have announced support to Rihanna, saying that instead of banning the video, people including children should be made to watch Man Down. Instead of criticizing the pop singer, I'd like to say thank you, Rihanna. She's done it again. In 2010, she and rapper Eminem painted a searingly accurate picture of how it feels to be trapped in a physically violent romantic relationship in Love the Way You Lie. This time, she's lifted the curtain on another subject no one wants to hear about: the rage and vengeance fantasies that often constitute a normal, healthy reaction to rape and domestic violence, Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of the memoir Crazy Love and a frequent speaker on the subject of violence against women, wrote on CNN.

Feminists argue that Rihanna is not asking anyone to go around and murder people; instead she is trying to warn the population about violence that often happens in relationships but is unreported.