Rihanna: ‘S&M Isn’t All About Sex’

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March 22, 2011 | 3:15pm EST

Rihanna is still stunned by the furor surrounding the provocative promo for her latest single S&M, because she was using the sexual term as a metaphor for her relationship with the media.
The Umbrella hitmaker’s video prompted controversy upon its release last month and it was banned in 11 countries due to the racy nature of the footage, which featured the singer semi-naked, tying a man to a bed, and suggestively sucking on a banana.

But Rihanna is adamant the meaning of the song has been misconstrued – because it’s not all about sex.

She tells Vogue magazine, “The song can be taken very literally, but it’s actually a very metaphorical song. It’s about the love-hate relationship with the media and how sometimes the pain is pleasurable. We feed off it – or I do. And it was a very personal message that I was trying to get across.

“I wanted the video to say that but still play off of the theme of S&M. And I mean, wow, people went crazy. They just saw sex. And when I see that video, I don’t see that at all. I wanted it to be cheeky. There’s no other way to take it.”

The star has come under fire from some critics for setting a bad example to young fans with her provocative behavior, but Rihanna insists she has never set out to offend with her work.

She says, “Pop culture is changing. It’s becoming more rock ‘n’ roll. And the pop icons nowadays are very fearless, unapologetic, edgy and it’s a lot for people to swallow sometimes. Because people still think pop star equals role model, but it’s almost impossible to walk that line.

“I’ve struggled with it and have come to the conclusion that I can only live my life for me. I definitely want to help and teach little girls whenever I can, but then there is the character that I have to play in my videos to tell stories. It’s art. And a lot of the parts that I play aren’t necessarily what I stand for in real life. But it’s hard to differentiate that sometimes.”

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