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Are Music Videos Going Too Far?

Submitted by on June 12, 2011 – 10:34 am2 Comments

Music videos have long been a staple in American culture (even though almost no one airs them on television anymore). We’re talking creative and artistic expression in the form of a mini-movie released to the masses to complement the corresponding song. Of course, Michael Jackson revolutionized the art of music videos, taking the description of them as mini-movies more seriously than most. Since then, artists have decidedly pushed the envelope when it comes to music videos and subsequently caused public outcries and controversies, often getting their videos banned.

We’re seeing a darker tone in music overall these days, most notably in hip-hop which until recently seemed to stay away from overly gruesome themes and videos. Times have changed.

Rihanna‘s “S&M” created a lot of buzz with its very sexual and sadistic scenes. Now, Rihanna returns to the world of music videos with “Man Down,” which has caused quite an uproar with requests for removal by major music video networks. In “Man Down,” Rihanna kills a sexual predator by shooting him in the head.

Rihanna has spoken out against the protesters, tweeting that she is not a parent and that children should be exposed to the real world.

The final, official video for Kanye West‘s “Monster” was released and being that it is extremely close to the video that was ‘leaked’, we’re wondering what took so long. The video features tortured, dismembered, beheaded, and otherwise dead bodies.

Kanye put a disclaimer ahead of the video:

“The following content is in no way to be interpreted as misogynistic or negative towards any group of people. It is an art piece and it shall be taken as such.”

However, if art is dependent upon interpretation, can’t it be considered offensive? What exactly is the point of such videos? Are artists trying to really communicate visually what the song itself communicates audibly or are they just looking to create the most buzz and controversy to keep their names and careers at the forefront of societal consciousness?

Art will always be controversial, but it certainly helps when that controversy is for an actual purpose and helps to get a strong message across as opposed to being created for the sake of keeping the artist’s names in our mouths.

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