Gabrielle Union talks Rihanna's 'Man Down' video and her own rape
Rihanna's recent music video for her single "Man Down" caused some controversy when it was released in late May and now actress Gabrielle Union spoke out about the video on her Twitter account.
In the video, Rihanna plays a girl depicted as a victim of an implied sexual attack who guns down her suspected rapist. The Parents Television Council has condemned the video for its violence. "Instead of telling victims they should seek help, Rihanna released a music video that gives retaliation in the form of premeditated murder the imprimatur of acceptability," Henson said. "The message of the disturbing video could not be more off base."
Union was raped at 19 when a robber came in to the shoe store she was working at in California. The actress recounted her story on Oprah radio with host Dr. Laura Berman in 2009. Audio of her interview can be heard here. Union says during the attack she was "beaten beyond recognition." Her rapist was caught two weeks later and is now serving a 33-year-sentence in prison.
On the "Man Down" video, Union wrote on her official Twitter page, "Saw "Man Down" by @rihanna. Every victim/survivor of rape is unique, including how they THINK they'd like justice 2 be handed out."
She adds, "#mandown video did a GREAT job of getting the ENTIRE world TALKING abt RAPE. I hope tht it leads 2 HEALING & PREVENTS RAPE."
However, the 38-year-old actress says she doesn't agree with the violent shooting depicted in the video.
"Durin my rape I tried 2 shoot my rapist, bt I missed," Union wrote. "Over the yrs I realized tht killin my rapist wouldve added insult 2 injury."
She adds, "The DESIRE 2 kill someone whose abused/raped u is understandable, bt unless its self defense n the moment 2 save ur life, just ADDS 2 ur troubles."
Union has starred in several films including "Bring It On" and "Daddy's Little Girls." She also had roles in television series like "Life" and "FlashForward." The actress has been linked to NBA player Dwyane Wade.
Rihanna recently defended her video. "I wanted to make a mini movie," Rihanna said in a recent phone interview. "Something raw and artistic. If I can be a voice for so many that aren't heard, then I win twice. Look at how it's affecting people. Girls are empowered by this. It's easy to turn it into something negative but I'm just really impressed that my fans get it. This is a story for them. It's not for the critics."
"We decided to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address, especially if you've been victimized in this scenario," she added. "Rape is, unfortunately, it's happening all over the world and right in our own homes and we continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn't happen."
The R&B and pop singer, who has herself been the victim of assault by then-boyfriend Chris Brown, said that she did not "go into it to make a controversial video."
"I personally don't condone violence or murder," Rihanna said. "I've been abused in the past and you don't see me running around, killing people in my spare time. I just want girls to be careful."In 2009, Brown, who is also an R&B singer, pleaded guilty to felony assault for attacking Rihanna while they were dating. He was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community service. After the confrontation, Rihanna obtained a restraining order against him. It was was later downgraded to a lower level.
Rihanna is set to make her big-screen acting debut with the 2012 movie "Battleship." The singer plays an ammunitions specialist."Battleship" also stars Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker and Alexander Skarsgard from the HBO vampire series "True Blood" and depicts the Navy's battle against invading aliens.