In the music video “Bitch Better Have My Money” Rihanna does what she does best and completely flips the script of black femininity. She portrays a gangster of sorts, abducting a white female whose husband owes Rihanna’s character a hefty sum of money. However, this piece of information is not made known to the audience until the end of the video. The entirety of the video alludes to Rihanna playing a pimp and this white woman owing her money from turning tricks. By painting this picture, Rihanna turns the sexualization away from herself and her ethnic partners in crime to the white woman that was seen getting ready in a see through bra in a very upscale classy apartment bathroom. By doing this, Rihanna forces the audience to recognize her power and authority as a woman in the music industry.
In the essay Performing Objects by McMillian, the author talks about avatar production and how they employ this concept and to “n to foreground how these women engage in spectacular, shocking, and even unlawful role- plays”. McMillian also states that by portraying these avatars, woman are able to “stretch” the normally “subordinate roles available to black women”. Rihanna takes this stretching to the next level by portraying a disgruntled pimp at the beginning and ending her video basking in the money and blood of the man she recently had killed.
Rihanna’s music video furthers the empowerment of the black female by only having one man in the video the entire time; a man she later ends up murdering for not paying the money that is owed to her. The video demonstrates Rihanna showing the patriarchal infrastructure (the man she kills at the end) that she may be woman, but she will make sure she gets what is hers, whether she follows traditional female norms or not.