Madonna has taken a lot of heat for her use of controversial images on her global MDNA tour. She showed swastikas, which were superimposed on the head of a French politico, and handled prop guns, which were considered especially insensitive after the July massacre in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’
Never one to back down or shy away from criticisms levied at her door, Madge has posted a lengthy manifesto, defending her use of uncomfortable and violent imagery.
It’s also worth recalling that her show in Poland was met with protest since it fell on a somber remembrance day in the country’s history. That’s to say nothing of the constant flashing of skin and trashing of Lady Gaga at every turn, which inspired Elton John’s wrath.
Madge has spent her summer ruffling feathers in both serious and silly ways. Now, we finally hear directly from her about what’s she’s thinking when she puts together her run of show.
In the letter, released to Billboard, Madge referred to her gigs as “part spectacle” and “sometimes intimate performance art,” never apologizing for what she puts forth. She did sum up her approach to performing effectively, saying, “When you watch a film, there are usually good guys and bad guys to help illustrate this point. Sometimes I play both.” That’s Madge — straddling a tight rope at a high altitude, and without a net.
The full text of Madonna’s letter is below and is unedited. It begins like a poem and then expands into a detailed explanation of her perspective and her purpose. She also states that violence is not something she condones or supports. Yet she uses them. She also says she does not smoke or like that her daughter Lourdes was caught doing so, despite smoking in her “Girl Gone Wild’ video. There’s a bit of ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ going on here, don’t you think?
Read for yourself.
Is a journey
The journey of a soul from darkness to light
It is part cinematic musical theatre.
Part spectacle and sometimes intimate Performance art.
But above all its a journey
From darkness to light
From anger to love
from chaos to order.
It’s true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns – but they are used as metaphors.
I do not condone violence or the use of guns.
Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging. In my case its wanting to stop the lies and hypocrisy of the church, the intolerance of many narrow minded cultures and societies I have experienced throughout my life and in some cases the pain I have felt from having my heart broken.
Ultimately as we follow through the journey of my story, the audience can see quite clearly what I see – That the enemy is within and the only way to survive Disappointment Disapproval Judgment Heartbreak Jealousy Envy And Hatred Is with Love – not with revenge – not with guns and not with violence.
In spite of all the chaos and darkness and intolerance we seem to be encountering more and more in the world, We cannot allow our anger or bitterness to swallow us up. We come to understand that there is an innate and pure love inside us all and we have to find a way to tap into it.
And we can’t do it by being victims or placing the blame or pointing the finger at others. But by recognizing that the enemy is within And when we come to terms with it And accept it And struggle to change ourselves, Then we can change the world without hurting anyone and we can inspire others to do the same.
When you watch a film there are usually good guys and bad guys to help illustrate this point, Sometimes I play both.
I enjoy acting out this journey.
For none of us are perfect and we all have our own journey of growth to go on.
I know people can relate to it.
It’s very important to me as an artist that my show not be taken out of context.
It must be watched with an open heart from beginning to end. I am sure if it is viewed this way, the viewer will walk away feeling inspired, Invigorated and will want to make the world a better place.
And this of course was always my intention.
What do you think of Madge’s letter? Does it sway your opinion about her use of uncomfortable imagery? Do you think it’s sincere or BS? Sound off!
Watch the Madonna ‘Turn Up the Radio’ Video