By Erica Dunigan
Dressed in pink latex, a polka-dot leotard, and with big curly red hair Rihanna takes the spotlight as a dominatrix. The 22-year-old pop star pushes the artistic limits, in her newly released single, “S&M.”
Singer and songwriter Rihanna released her new single from her album “Loud” on Feb. 2, and it has already been banned in 11 countries according to UK’s Daily Mirror. Not only has it been banned, but if you’re a fan of Rihanna, and want to view the video on YouTube you have to be 18 or older to watch it. YouTube has rated the video unsuitable for minors.
“S&M” is No. 31 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and is considered one of Rihanna’s most controversial singles yet, along with “Te Amo” where the lyrics are about Rihanna’s struggles of being desired by other women.
There is more meaning behind the title, than just two letters. The letter “S” means “sadism,” which means the infliction of pain or humiliation upon another person. Whereas “M” means “masochism” and that is the pleasure in receiving the pain. When you combine both letters you get “sadomasochist,” also known as “S&M.”
Melina Matsoukas, director, said to Billboard.com’s “The Juice,” “the video was inspired by Rihanna’s sadomasochist relationship with the press. It isn’t just about a bunch of whips and chains. The video is also refined and colorful and poppy. Rihanna loves pop art and wanted to build off of that.”
From beginning to end the music video gives an array of sexual enactments. Along with the actions we see Rihanna wear many different costumes that make a powerful statement. In one scene she wears a dress that has news headlines about her written all over it, while singing, “It feels so good being bad.”
Throughout the video we see Rihanna overpowering the media who have hurt her in the past and present, which includes Perez Hilton who is a gossip blogger. He is known for covering gossip about musicians, actors, and celebrities. Hilton shows up in a short scene attached to a dog leash being pulled around by Rihanna in front of a house.
Even though the video may be controversial the song still took the No. 14 spot on the UK R&B Singles chart.
The video may be controversial to some, but through it she shows that women are powerful and that she can brush off what other people say or write about her. This is because she as an individual who is much stronger than that.
“S&M” has been at the top of controversy since it was released, but Rihanna speaks her mind through her lyrics, “The affliction of the feeling leaves me wanting more.”
Erica Dunigan is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.