The “Rockstar 101” video was filmed in April 2010. It was directed by Melina Matsoukas, who also directed Rihanna’s last two videos, “Hard” and “Rude Boy”. An exclusive 30-second clip was released to the Internet on May 19, 2010, along with a behind-the-scenes video. The full video premiered on VEVO on May 25, 2010.
It involves Rihanna in a total of eight different scenes including her wearing black body paint and almost completely naked wearing a spiked crown and wrapped in chains made by Fannie Schiavoni. Also, she features in a snow-forest scene with trees and (Slash does not appear in the video so) Rihanna is also seen imitating Slash with his classic black curly hair, sunglasses and top hat. In other scenes, she smashes a black electric guitar, and also is featured in an outfit incorporating guitar strings. Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker makes an appearance in the video as part of Rihanna’s rock band. The video is inspired by various stars from the rock genre, including Nine Inch Nails and The Bravery. Shortly after the video was released, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash said that he was “flattered” that Rihanna impersonated him. “The video is way better with her being me than with me being me,” he said. “All things considered, it brings an element of sexuality to it that I probably wouldn’t have been capable of. I think it’s hot. Everything works out the way it’s supposed to.”