Cate YoungRihanna, Music

Misc. Music: Stay by Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko

Cate YoungRihanna, Music

There's something about this video.

It might be an odd choice to talk about this video on Valentine's Day, but I've loved Rihanna for a long time, and I've felt deeply connected  to her very public story of abuse. The "woman in an abusive relationship" narrative always seems so simple: LEAVE. But it never works that way in real life, because there are always mitigating factors involved. Rihanna's celebrity doesn't make her immune to the cycle of violence, and I think it was a brave choice for her to make herself so vulnerable for this video.

That said, this video make me want to cry. I get that it's performance, but I agree with Refinery29's assessment; because of the public nature of their breakup and reconciliation, it is impossible to consume this in a vacuum. There's no way you can watch this video and not think back to the last four years of their tumultuous relationship. It's interesting that the public at large seems to carry more baggage from this relationship than either of them do, and I think that a lot of that will come out in the response to the video.

But there's a lot to be said for an artist opening up like this. It reminds me of Demi Lovato's video for Skyscraper. I remember loving that video because of how raw and apparent the emotion was on her face. It read like a phoenix rising from the ashes, ready to claim her new beginning. But this is slightly different. There's no redemption for Rihanna in this story. She's shaking and broken and bare, and you can't help but speculate how much of this sentiment she's internalized.
The reason I hold on
Cause I need this hole gone.
Funny you're the broken one
But I'm the only one who needed saving
Cause when you never see the light
It's hard to know which one of us is caving.
Those are really powerful words, and knowing Rihanna's history the way we do, it's very hard to to try to extrapolate about what she's going through. Here she seems impossibly tired, and resigned to her situation. It's a difficult pill to swallow when we know what that situation might be.

In the end, I love the video. It's simple and stark and does justice to the sentiment of the song, and it's a nice change from all of her usual pomp and circumstance. I just wish it didn't make me worry for her.