Eminem’s latest music video, “Love the Way You Lie,” featuring Rihanna, is rapidly nearing 24,000,000 page views on YouTube as it continues to spur controversy in the media. The popular video features actors Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox involved in an intensely vicious and sexually charged relationship. As Rihanna sings the chorus – “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn — Well that’s alright because I like the way it hurts” – a series of graphic scenes play out in the new video. Viewers witness Monaghan and Fox entangled in a chilling cycle of domestic abuse and violence — somehow making it all look ever so sexy and alluring.
Since its debut, the “Love the Way You Lie” video has been the subject of significant criticism. Many people are asserting that Eminem and Rihanna are merely glorifying domestic abuse — as opposed to making a strong statement against this particular form of violence.
Eminem is no stranger to courting controversy in the media — he has consistently been the subject of both criticism and accolades. In fact, time and again, his career as an artist seems to flourish in the midst of any form of media controversy. “Love the Way You Lie,” from his album Recovery, is currently ranked #1 on the “Hot 100”, Billboard Hot 100.
According to MTV.com Monaghan stated: “I think we tried as hard as we could to not glorify the violence, to try and explain that this was a relationship that is by no means ideal and a relationship that probably should have ended a lot sooner than it did.”
In the past, the rapper from Detroit’s music has often focused on subjects like his own dysfunctional relationship with ex-wife Kim, substance abuse, and other toxic issues in his life. Ever since Eminem entered the music scene, violence has been a recurring theme within his controversial lyrics.
After its release in the summer of 2000, The Marshall Mathers LP ended up being ranked as the fastest-selling rap album in history. While achieving such a high level of success, Eminem’s personal life was plagued with drama and controversy. The incidents included a lawsuit from his own mother, physical altercations, disputes with other artists and a series of personal issues.
According to YAHOO! Music:
“Fans ate it up as his album stood strong at the top of the charts. But the mainstream media was not so enamored, as accusations of homophobia and sexism sprung from the inflammatory lyrics in the songs ‘Kill You’ and ‘Kim.’ It was this last song that ended his marriage, as the song’s chosen topic (violently murdering his real life wife Kim Mathers) drove his spouse to a suicide attempt before they divorced. Eminem toured throughout most of this, settling several of his court cases and engaging a mini-feud with rapper Everlast.”
Following the release of The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem was inundated with complaints by critics that his lyrics were not only homophobic and violent, but also misogynistic in content. Did the artist really seem phased by the accusations? He countered the criticism by performing at the 43rd Grammy Awards with Elton John.
On the subject of the Grammy Awards — Eminem has certainly earned his fair share. The rapper was the first artist to win Best Rap Album for three consecutive LP’s. He now has a total of 11 wins at the Grammy Awards.
Aside from being a successful rapper, Eminem is also a savvy businessman. In fact, he is one of the wealthiest people in the entire Hip Hop industry. Eminem is certainly adept at creating a high level of industry buzz. It is somewhat unlikely that the current controversy involving the “Love the Way You Lie” video was not anticipated by the artist, when he and the director, Joseph Kahn, initially detailed the concept. Historically, the rapper’s sales seem to reflect the fact that his fans love any form of drama — this time around is no different.
Was the recent Eminem and Rihanna video really glorifying domestic violence? Who knows? As the controversy continues to ensue, Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” firmly maintains its position at the top of the charts. One thing is certain: The rapper is definitely back on the music scene.
Jocelyn Noveck, “Is violent Rihanna-Eminem song a teaching tool?”, Associated Press
“Hot 100”, Billboard
Jason Ankeny & Bradley Torr, “Eminem Biography”, YAHOO! Music
Rochell Thomas, “Eminem’s ‘Love The Way You Lie’ Warns Of The Cycle Of Abuse”, MTV
Eminem, ‘Love the Way You Lie’ video, YouTube