LAS VEGAS - JULY 17: Recording artist Rihanna performs at the Mandalay Bay Events Center during her Last Girl On Earth tour July 17, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rihanna is touring in support of the album, 'Rated R.' (Photo by Ethan …
Photographer: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
It's tumultuous, edgy, and violent and it's a major hit.
The video for the latest chart topper by Eminem and Rihanna features a young and beautiful couple played by actors Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan in the throes of an abusive and unstable relationship.
The video debuted this month and has already received nearly 20 million hits on YouTube. It features Rihanna singing in front of a burning house. Eminem raps from a pleasant field. Meanwhile, the couple slaps, spits, and shoves in an ongoing cycle of abuse.
It's the combination of the images in the video and the song's lyrics to "Love the Way You Lie" that have many wondering what the video is really trying to say.
We showed the video to Linda Osmundson, Executive Director of CASA, a domestic abuse agency and a group of young, female CASA volunteers. Osmundson said "If you put them together I think you've got a message that is very confusing at best."
Some music critics say the video is Eminem's apology for his own past. Megan Fox reportedly donated her appearance fee to help victims of domestic violence. Rihanna's publicist has said the video is something that "needed to be done."
Osmundson isn't sure if those positive messages translate on the screen. "There's no message there about the sweetness and the compassion and the sharing and the knowledge of one another. It's just this crazy angry, pushing back and forth kind of a thing that's what's love," says Osmundsen.
Osmundsen works with survivors of domestic violence and says perpetuating that definition of love is what lands of women and men in trouble in the first place.
All of the CASA volunteers had already seen the video, and 16 year old Caprice Smith, 16-year-old Jerica Hines and 27-year-old Courtney Jones agree the imagery is confusing.
"I think the message is 'love is blind' and 'you'll do anything for love'," said Caprice.
"Some people might look at it in a positive way, and say 'this isn't the right thing' and some people might say 'well, TV stars are doing it' so I guess we can do it'," said Jerica.
Perhaps the toughest thing to swallow about this love affair is how it ends with death threats. And then the image of happily ever after.
"She is saying its ok. She's taking him back, she's hitting him too. They are stealing and doing all the wrong things," said Courtney.
And Osmundsen says 'happily ever after' in these types of relationships, does not exist. "That's such a misnomer, such a message that we know in our work at CASA is simply not true."
The people at CASA said parents should use this video as an opportunity to have a discussion with their children. Look at the various elements of the video and consider what the messages are and then share examples of positive and healthy relationships.
Online: YouTube video of Love The Way You Lie
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