For six weeks and counting, “Love the Way You Lie” has been No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and the song’s music video has garnered more than 77 million views on YouTube.
What makes the song and the music video controversial is that both Eminem and Rihanna have had their own experiences with abusive relationships.
Eminem depicted his relationship with ex-wife Kim Mathers in his song “Kim,” off his third studio album, “The Marshall Mathers LP,” whose lyrics reflect fantasies about murdering a woman named Kim.
More notably, Rihanna unofficially became the face of domestic-violence victims in 2009 when R&B star Chris Brown, Rihanna’s former boyfriend, was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community service for assaulting Rihanna just before the 2009 Grammy Awards.
The real success of the song and music video is due to Rihanna’s haunting words that she sings in the song’s hook
“Just gonna stand there/ and watch me burn/ But that’s alright/ because I like the way it hurts/ Just gonna stand there/ and hear me cry/ But that’s alright/ because I love the way you lie.”Marjorie Gilberg, the executive director of Break the Cycle, a nonprofit that works to end teen violence, told the Washington Post in an Aug. 10 article, “The danger is that pop culture defines our social norms. We don’t want the message of this song to be that this kind of relationship is acceptable. So this song has to be viewed in the context of real information from adults, like parents and teachers.”