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Shot October 21, 2012
Director (s) Anthony Mandler
Producer (s) Anthony Mandler
Choreographer Anthony Mandler
Length 4:43
"Pour It Up"
"What Now"

Background and conceptEdit

With every song it's a different story, so the visuals are very specific to that story and that world. With 'Diamonds,' it was just a series of vignettes that we put together to help get the emotion across throughout the song 'cause the song changes and it builds, and there's no real way that you could do that.[1]

Rihanna began shooting the music video for "Diamonds" on October 21, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.[2] It was directed by her regular collaborator Anthony Mandler, who previously directed Rihanna's music videos for "Russian Roulette" (2009) and "Man Down" (2011).[2] Photographs of the production were leaked on the same day; on them, Rihanna is seen wearing a white and black dress as she stands in front of a fire and looks into the camera. Ethan Sacks of New York Daily News wrote, "Rihanna looked like a gem on the set of her video shoot."[3] Speaking to MTV News, Rihanna explained the concept behind the video explaining that with different abstract scenes she wanted to give the audience "the right emotion".[1] Mandler also spoke about the video and its theme, "With this one, I felt the need to create a wider landscape; almost hint at things, go into things, then get out of them, and not allow people to attach themselves to too much... they needed to feel like dream vignettes, like, when you wake up from a dream, you realize what you were dreaming about is not really what it was about, it was about something else." He further explained, "And you can see what I'm getting at in terms of relating this to Rihanna's real life, and what she's been through. What's truth or fiction? You know 'Is she drowning, or is she in complete ecstasy? Are those hands coming apart, or are they finding each other?' ... we tried to bring up these deeper questions that relate to song and her life and finding beauty in chaos and finding beauty in pain and finding pain in beauty."[4] On November 7, 2012, a behind-the-scenes video was posted on MTV's official website.[5] It features Rihanna emerging from a trailer, wrapped in a "leopard-print" robe and heading to the shooting set. The scenes are intercut with police officers chasing armed fighters. Scenes of Rihanna standing in a deserted landscape are also shown.[5] The music video for "Diamonds" premiered November 8, 2012, on MTV and An online streaming of the video was also made available for viewing at[5] It was digitally released on November 14, 2012 via iTunes in all countries except Australia.[6]


The music video opens with a view of Rihanna lying in open waters, as other scenes of diamonds being rolled in a manner suggestive of making a marijuana cigarette are intercut - a scene reminiscent of the single's artwork. As the video progresses Rihanna is shown running on a highway. In a black-and-white scene, Rihanna licks the joint and begins smoking it. The image fades to black as the song begins. Rihanna performs in the same black-and-white setting while in a black corset. Images of Rihanna on a bed in a room while singing are shown, with objects breaking, curtains falling and roses burning in reverse effect. Rihanna is shown again on the highway, running away from what appears to be the headlights of a chasing car. She then stops as she looks up to the night sky at an aurora view. Throughout the video, Rihanna's hand is shown intertwined with that of a heavily tattooed man, whose face is not shown in the video. As the second verse starts, Rihanna is shown in a desert where horses run freely. Scenes of a street battle are later shown, depicting burning cars and broken glass around the environment. As the video progresses, Rihanna and her lover's hands are shown slowly slipping apart, with only their fingertips touching towards the conclusion of the video. The video ends with Rihanna once again floating alone in the open waters.


Upon its release, the video received positive response from critics. James Montgomery of MTV News, stated that the video for "Diamonds", "opens with [Rihanna] raking her fingers through piles of the titular stones and ends with her adrift at sea. In between, there is no shortage of evocative imagery (glamorous black-and-white close-ups, thick plumes of translucent smoke, oversaturated hill-scapes, artfully silhouetted stallions), all of which make for a visually arresting experience." He concluded by comparing the video to the song itself commenting, "The result is both incredibly intimate and wide-screen public".[7] According to Jocelyn Vena, also of MTV News, the video is full of "dreamy" and "surreal" shoots of Rihanna, as she mournfully makes her way through a number of "sometimes-unimaginable set-ups."[8] E! Online's Bruna Nessif described the video as being "full of complex imagery and storytelling - or in any case, Rihanna being all mysterious and sexy."[9] Amy Scarrietto of PopCrush wrote that Rihanna is the only face in the video that looks "vulnerable", further stating, "we witness another body, in the form of a heavily tattooed, man’s arm that she’s desperately trying to cling to. We don’t see him, but the suggestion that it’s Chris Brown is obvious."[10] A reviewer of NME commented on the theme of the video and wrote that Rihanna is seen in four environments that represent the four elements of the earth, air, water and fire.[11] Leah Collins of The Vancouver Sun wrote that Rihanna's evaluation of the song had influence on the video concept. He further stated, "It all feels like you're watching outtakes from about a dozen Rihanna magazine shoots."[12] Billy Johnson Jr. of Yahoo! Canada commented that the lyrics of the song "celebrate finding a love so great that it shines bright. But the video hardly chronicles a love affair." He continued, "It seems as though [Rihanna is] in chaos, reflecting on happier times."[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Rihanna Wanted 'Diamonds' Video To Give Fans The 'Right Impression'". MTV News. Viacom (Jocelyn Vena). November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Vena, Jocelyn (October 22, 2012). "Rihanna Sets The World On Fire In 'Diamonds' Video Tease". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  3. Sacks, Ethan (October 22, 2012). "Rihanna glitters on set of 'Diamonds' video shoot". New York Daily News (Mortimer Zuckerman). Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  4. Montgomery, James (November 15, 2012). "Does Rihanna's Director Know Something About 'Diamonds' That We Don't?". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Warner, Kara (November 7, 2012). "Rihanna To Premiere 'Diamonds' Video Tomorrow On MTV: Watch A Sneak Peak!". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  6. "Music videos - Diamonds by Rihanna". iTunes Store (US). Apple. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  7. Montgomery, James (November 8, 2012). "RRihanna's 'Diamonds' Video Premieres: Watch It Now!". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  8. Vena, Jocelyn (November 9, 2012). "Rihanna Wanted 'Diamonds' Video To Give Fans The 'Right Emotion'". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  9. Nessif, Bruna. "Rihanna debuts 'Diamonds' video -- is that Chris Brown?". E! Online. NBC News. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  10. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named pop_crush
  11. "Rihanna reveals 'Diamonds' music video - watch". NME. IPC Media. November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  12. Collins, Leah (November 9, 2012). "Rihanna gets wet with wild horses in new Diamonds video". Vancouver Sun (Postmedia Network Inc). Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named videoconcept

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