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Rihanna Defends 'Shooting' Man In Video

R&B singer Rihanna has defended her latest music video - where she shoots a man in revenge for an alleged sexual assault.

The song, titled Man Down, has been criticised for encouraging women to take the law into their own hands and turn to violence.

The video opens with a scene where the singer fires a gun at an unarmed man's head at a busy train station. He then dies.

The reggae-style song by the 23-year-old star features the lyrics: "Momma, I just shot a man dead... I never been so proud."

But Rihanna, who was attacked in 2009 by her then-boyfriend Chris Brown , said the video is actually about female empowerment.

In messages on Twitter she said: "Young girls/women all over the world... we are a lot of things! We're strong innocent fun flirtatious vulnerable, and sometimes our innocence can cause us to be naive!

"We always think it could NEVER be us, but in reality, it can happen to ANY of us! So ladies be careful and #listentoyomama! I love you and I care!"

The single, from Rihanna's new album Loud, was released last week but already there have been calls for TV channels in the US to ban the video.

Melissa Henson, from the Parents Television Council, said that "instead of telling victims they should seek help, Rihanna released a music video that gives retaliation in the form of premeditated murder the imprimatur of acceptability".

Brown, 21, pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna in February 2009, setting off a national debate about young, abusive relationships.

He publicly apologised, underwent court-ordered domestic violence counselling and spent six months performing community service.