Madonna has not responded to Donald Trump calling her "disgusting" for saying she thought about blowing up the White House, but she has the option of making the next move by recording what could become the rallying cry against the prez.
Sources tell TMZ legendary songwriter Bruce Roberts, who wrote "Enough is Enough" for Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer, is reaching out to Madonna to record a track he will lay over the song.
The song shot to #6 on Billboard Dance Club Charts Friday ... but the track is stripped down, using only the chorus of "Enough is Enough."
We're told Roberts wants Madonna to rewrite and sing the lyrics, stylizing it to express disdain for Trump's policies. Our sources say Roberts doesn't want to make this a personal attack on Trump, but rather a statement that he's taking the country in the wrong direction.
We're told Roberts wants Madonna in the studio STAT. He will keep Streisand and Summer's track on the song for the hook. Madonna would be added to the hook as well.
We reached out to Roberts, who has written for Whitney Houston, Elton John, Alice Cooper, and Dolly Parton but he did not respond. Ditto Madonna. But we know the call is in.
It's been almost a week since Madonna marched with many other celebrities and millions of women and allies in the Women's March, but it is still stirring up controversy.
As Trump and his followers always do, they like to take things out of context and use it to deflect from the real message. In this case, Madonna's metaphor to "blow up the White House" was a welcome detail to use to their advantage. Those who have seen the full speech (and those who have a bit of common sense), understand the context in which Madonna used those words. Of course, she should've selected her words more carefully, but on the other hand, criticism was going to come her way anyway. "If you stick your neck out, sometimes you get your head chopped off."
Since then, Madonna's social media posts have been flooded by evil and violent messages from bigoted Trump supporters. A local radio station in Texas used the attention to announce they were "banning all of Madonna's music", which is quite ridiculous given that they weren't playing her anymore in the past decade anyway. And finally, a Fox news reporter added fuel to the fire, asking Trump himself about Madonna's comment. Trump called Madonna "disgusting", adding that what she said was "disgraceful to our country."
This is what Trump does best: whenever there is an opponent with a different opinion, he tries to vilify them, to bully them out of the conversation. His bigoted minions will do the rest. So we can expect some more disgraceful comments coming Madonna's way.
Here's where we come in. Madonna has told us about her "Revolution of Love" in her 2013 Secret Project Revolution. She has spoken about it in her speeches on tour. She has called upon everyone of us, to start ourselves with being kind and by standing up for our beliefs. Now it's time to actually turn her words into action.
If a social media post of Madonna gets negative comments, then add a positive one. If they can flood with negativity, we can flood with positivity. Reply to the rude comments but don't stoop to their level. Show your support to Madonna on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter...
Our friends over at MadonnaNews want to get the hashtag #MadonnaWeAreWithYou trending, so make sure to use it in your social media posts.
Are you with her?
Pop star Madonna has denied "rumours" she has applied to adopt two more children in Malawi.
It comes after a Malawian government spokesperson told news outlets the 58-year-old singer had appeared in court and had "filed an application expressing interest" to adopt.
Madonna is currently in the African country, but said her visit was strictly for charity purposes.
"The rumours of an adoption process are untrue," she said in a statement.
"I am in Malawi to check on the children's hospital in Blantyre and my other work with Raising Malawi and then heading home."
Court spokesman Mlenga Mvula had told news agencies earlier on Wednesday the singer had appeared in High Court, applying to adopt two children.
"As a court, we adjourned the matter for a ruling (in the next two weeks). The court will either grant the adoption order or might not," he said.
Madonna previously adopted two children from the African country: David Banda in 2006 and Mercy James in 2009.
The star's relationship with Malawi dates back to 2006, when she established the Raising Malawi charity, with the goal of improving children's lives.
She initially planned to build a $15m (£12m) girls' academy, but later changed strategy, and used the money to fund a number of schools.
The charity also provides scholarships to female students, and is currently building the country's first paediatric intensive care unit at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, in Blantyre.
Madonna visited the project last summer, and took David and Mercy to visit the orphanages where they lived before being adopted.
The star has two other children - Lourdes and Rocco - from previous relationships. Last year saw her involved in a custody dispute over Rocco with ex-husband Guy Ritchie.
She eventually lost the case, with the 16-year-old moving to London to live with his father.
Piers Morgan writes (and I’ve seen other comments that suggest the same):
Madonna just said she wants to bomb the White House.
Any ordinary person who said that would be arrested, charged & jailed.
I doubt it — and, if someone were charged, the charges would be quickly thrown out.
First Amendment law — and common sense — has long realized that not every reference to violence, even related to the president, is a true threat. The question is what words actually mean in context, not whether someone uses the phrase “blowing up the White House.” The classic example is U.S. v. Watts (1969), in which Watts was prosecuted for threatening Lyndon B. Johnson’s life:
[D]uring a public rally on the Washington Monument grounds [in 1966, t]he crowd present broke up into small discussion groups and petitioner joined a gathering scheduled to discuss police brutality. Most of those in the group were quite young, either in their teens or early twenties. Petitioner, who himself was 18 years old, entered into the discussion after one member of the group suggested that the young people present should get more education before expressing their views.
[P]etitioner responded: “They always holler at us to get an education. And now I have already received my draft classification as 1-A and I have got to report for my physical this Monday coming. I am not going. If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.” “They are not going to make me kill my black brothers.” On the basis of this statement, the jury found that petitioner had committed a felony by knowingly and willfully threatening the President.
The Supreme Court reversed the conviction:
We do not believe that the kind of political hyperbole indulged in by petitioner fits within [the term “threat"]…. The language of the political arena … is often vituperative, abusive, and inexact. [Watts’] only offense here was “a kind of very crude offensive method of stating a political opposition to the President.” Taken in context, and regarding the expressly conditional nature of the statement and the reaction of the listeners, we do not see how it could be interpreted otherwise….
And “[t]aken in context,” it’s clear that Madonna isn’t threatening to bomb the White House:
Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House. But I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair. As the poet W.H. Auden once wrote, on the eve of World War II, we must love one another or die. I choose love. Are you with me? Say this with me, we choose love….
Of course, sometimes the focus on meaning in context — rather than the literal words — can make something into a true threat even if there is no express reference to violence. “Nice restaurant here; would be a shame if anything happened to it, you really ought to buy some insurance” could be a true threat in the right context.
Likewise, that Madonna just literally said that she thought about bombing the White House, rather than she would bomb the White House, wouldn’t by itself preclude a finding of a true threat. “I’ve thought an awful lot about killing you” might well be a death threat, even without any express statement such as “I will kill you,” again depending on the context.
But in any event, in this context, Madonna’s statement isn’t a threat of violence — not in the eyes of the law, and not, I think, in normal everyday understanding.
[Totally irrelevant to the free speech issue, but an interesting tidbit: In a later edition of the poem, Auden changed the line to “we must love one another and die." Query how things would have come across if that were the line Madonna quoted ….]
Madonna is no stranger to expressing exactly how she's feeling. In front of a crowd of protestors at the Women's March on Washington (and, in turn, in front of a worldwide audience, as her words unsurprisingly made headlines, stat), the pop icon flat-out admitted to being outraged over the political state of the U.S: "Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House," she said at the Jan. 21 event, where it's estimated that more than 400,000 people gathered to march for women's rights.
That heated line was only a small part of her fiery speech, and it was one that she later said was taken out of context by the media. Her full speech was one of preaching love, hope and action, but it still takes a rebel to say those controversial words in public.
Simply put, Madonna is a badass. In light of her being the talk of pop culture and politics this weekend, let's look at five times the Queen of Pop pushed the boundaries -- and did it well.
That Fiery Rally Speech, Featuring a Few F-Bombs on Live TV
In Madonna's speech at the Women's March on Washington, she urged people to "say yes, we are ready" to start a revolution in the name of freedom and equality. She also dropped a handful of expletives during its live broadcast, leading at least two networks to cut away from it. (Three expletives, for those keeping score: "It took us this darkness to wake us the f--- up," "And to our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything, f--- you," and, for good measure, another "F--- you.")
What raised even more eyebrows, of course, was her comment about "blowing up the White House." Of course, anyone who listened to her speech in full -- rather than just skimming over a sensational headline -- knows she went on to say that violence is not the path one should take: "But I know that this won't change anything. We cannot fall into despair," she said.
A day after the speech, rumors swirled that the Secret Service may be investigating her comments. Still, Madonna did not take a step back or apologize for her remarks; instead, she took to Instagram to defend her discussion: "I came and performed 'Express Yourself' and that's exactly what i did. However I want to clarify some very important things. I am not a violent person, I do not promote violence and it's important people hear and understand my speech in its entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context."
Her Brutally Honest Acceptance Speech at Billboard's Women in Music Event
Whether or not you're a fan of her music, you have to admit Madonna has a way with words. At the Billboard Women in Music 2016 event, where she was honored as Woman of the Year, she opened her thank-you remarks with this zinger: "I stand before you as a doormat, Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer," She went on: "Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse."
In a powerful, revealing speech that touched on feminism, sexuality, her haters and more, Madonna didn't shy away from any topic. Her conclusion? "I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around. Michael is gone. Tupac is gone. Prince is gone. Whitney is gone. Amy Winehouse is gone. David Bowie is gone. But I'm still standing. I'm one of the lucky ones and every day I count my blessings."
Declaring Her Plans to 'Rule the World' ... Very Early in Her Career
The year was 1984. Madonna was invited to appear on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, on which she performed early single "Holiday," off her debut, self-titled album released only six months prior. Looking at the big picture -- she'd go on to release a dozen more albums over the next several decades -- the future pop queen was still up-and-coming at that moment. It was this television appearance that showed the world just how unabashed this newcomer was.
"What do you hope will happen, not only in 1984 but for the rest of your professional life? What are your dreams? What's left?" Dick Clark asked.
"To rule the world," she quipped, without hesitation. Fearless.
That Time She Said 'F---' 14 Times on the Late Show
In March 1994, Madonna joined David Letterman on the Late Show as his special guest. (Counting Crows were there to play "Round Here," but let's face it: Adam Duritz's crooning will forever be overshadowed by Madonna on this particular night.) The conversation was controversial all over, but perhaps most memorable: how many times she said "f---" on live TV. It was fourteen, apparently, which gives this spot a special place in talk-show censorship history. Also of note: Madonna gave Letterman her underwear and lamented that he would not smell them.
"You realize this is being broadcast, don't you?" Letterman asked. "Yeah," Madonna said with a grin.
In a later interview, this time with Spin magazine, the singer addressed the episode and justified her behavior: "You can show a person getting blown up, and you can't say 'f---'? It's such hypocrisy. The fact that everyone counted how many f---s I said -- how small-minded is that?"
Arriving Via Crucifix on Her Confessions Tour
Though Madonna's said plenty of badass things, she's also used performance art to get her message across. On her 2006 Confessions Tour, in support of her Confessions on a Dance Floor album, she emerged on the stage on a mirrored crucifix, adorned by a crown of thorns, for the song "Live to Tell" -- a scene that ruffled some feathers among the religious crowd, who called the show "blasphemous."
Madonna spoke out about the performance, explaining its meaning and insisting that Jesus would most certainly approve.
"I am very grateful that my show was so well received all over the world. But there seems to be many misinterpretations about my appearance on the cross and I wanted to explain it myself once and for all," she said in a statement. "There is a segment in my show where three of my dancers 'confess' or share harrowing experiences from their childhood that they ultimately overcame. My 'confession' follows and takes place on a crucifix that I ultimately come down from. This is not a mocking of the church. It is no different than a person wearing a cross or 'taking up the cross' as it says in the Bible."
"My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous," she continued. "Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole. I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing."
Madonna wasn't the only female artist to join the protests at the Women's March. Watch her below with fellow diva Cher, feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem, comedian and good pal Amy Schumer, and actress Fran Drescher.
Madonna is defending her fiery, expletive-laden speech at the Women's March, saying her words were "taken wildly out of context."
The singer said at the Washington, D.C., march Saturday (Jan. 21) that she had at times been angry after the election and had thought "an awful lot about blowing up the White House."
In a statement Sunday on Instagram, Madonna said she was trying to express there are two ways to respond to Donald Trump's election: with hope or with outrage. She said she hopes to affect change "with love."
Madonna wrote that she doesn't promote violence and people should listen to her speech "in its entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context."
Cable news networks broadcasting her speech cut away after Madonna used several expletives. MSNBC later apologized.
Yesterday's Rally. was an amazing and beautiful experience. I came and performed Express Yourself and thats exactly what i did. However I want to clarify some very important things. I am not a violent person, I do not promote violence and it's important people hear and understand my speech in it's entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context. My speech began with " I want to start a revolution of love." ♥️ I then go on to take this opportunity to encourage women and all marginalized people to not fall into despair but rather to come together and use it as a starting point for unity and to create positive change in the world. I spoke in metaphor and I shared two ways of looking at things — one was to be hopeful, and one was to feel anger and outrage, which I have personally felt. However, I know that acting out of anger doesn’t solve anything. And the only way to change things for the better is to do it with love. It was truly an honor to be part of an audience chanting “we choose love”. 🙏🏻🇺🇸♥️🙏🏻🇺🇸♥️🙏🏻🇺🇸♥️🙏🏻🇺🇸♥️🙏🏻🇺🇸 #revoltutionoflove♥️
Madonna joined thousands of women in the Women's March in Washington DC to protest against the new president of the United States Donals Trump and his immoral stand against women and other minorities.
"To our detractors, that insist that this march will never add up to anything: fuck you! Fuck you!" she said during her speech which was televised live, "it is the beginning of much required change".
She ended her speech with a performance of her feminist anthem Express Yourself, followed by Human Nature.
Joining Madonna at the March were many other celebrities, including Cher, Amy Schumer and Madonna's best pal Debi Mazar.
Madonna, wearing a 'Feminist' shirt and black cap, joined American artist Marilyn Minter and moderators Elisabeth Alexander and Anne Pasternak in the Brooklyn Museum to talk about feminism and art.
Madonna reminisced about the time when she first came to New York and created art with her friends Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. But also about the difficulty of that time, when she was raped and had to survive. There was an anecdote she previously hadn't told: one day she was sitting in her small apartment thinking if she should leave and go back to Michigan when a dove landed on her window pane, which she saw as a sign to stay and continue.
She also compared modern times with that time 30 years ago, when people didn't have social media or smartphones. You had to go out and meet people to connect. And while the Internet and our modern technology has many advantages, they sometimes disconnect us as well.
Of course the women also discussed politics and Trump's election. Madonna argued that she believes it happened for a reason, to wake people up and get them out of their comfort zone. "It's darkest before the dawn."
When Anne asked the males in the audience to raise their hand if they identified as a feminist, Madonna told the ones not raising their hand that she would slap each one of them. "Every man should be a feminist."
They mentioned that female artists are always pitted against each other, to which Madonna replied that she has always been pitted against Lady Gaga. As in her Billboard speech, she also mentioned that women should stick together more.
Talking about erotic art, Marilyn said women make less erotic art than men because they are scrutinized if they do. They are only allowed to joke about it. Madonna replied she wants to be serious about it too, and to own her sexuality. Marilyn compared Madonna to May West.
Asked for advice in these difficult political times, Madonna called on people to rise up, like phoenixes from the ashes. "You can choose between destruction or creation. I'm going down the road of creation and you're all welcome to join me!"
Madonna's longtime guitarist Monte Pittman posted a video on Facebook where he gives La Isla Bonita a metal make-over.
Let us know what you think on our Facebook page.
Madonna will take part in next week's Women's March on Washington, the pop icon revealed on Thursday.
Madge made the announcement posting of an image to social media of a woman revealing her public hair shaved in the shape of the Nike swoosh. "Yasssssssss! Just Do it!" she wrote, tagging the racy Los Angeles-based magazine Nakid.
The photo was shot by Marius Sperlich and will appear in Nakid's next issue, the magazine teased on Instagram. It's unclear whether the picture is of Madonna.
The Women's March on Washington in support of women's rights coincides with Donald Trump's presidential inauguration next Friday, taking place the day following on Jan. 21. Katy Perry, Cher and Zendaya are among the other celebrities who have announced they will be participating.
On her social media, Madonna has also added a video from the shoot with Luigi & Iango for Harper's Bazaar.
The pop icon on election-night prayers, aging, and bad wine.
Madonna has no patience for bad wine. I learned this while sitting in a well-appointed living room at her New York City home, with Nina Simone playing softly in the background. I must tell you, Madonna's house smells amazing—something delicious, maybe roasted chicken, was cooking in a kitchen elsewhere in the manse, and there was a gentle fragrance in the air, jasmine, perhaps. While I waited for Madonna, her day-to-day manager, her publicist, and I chatted while reclining on gorgeous cream-colored furniture set upon the largest rug I'd ever seen, on top of immaculate black wood floors. On the wall behind me was a black-and-white photograph of a woman perched on the edge of a mussed bed, scantily clad, sucking on a gun, it's Helmut Newton's "Girl with Gun" photograph. Of course.
Madonna was late, but that didn't matter because she is Madonna. What is time, really? She was all apologies when she arrived, and we quickly got down to business. She was in the process of planning a fund-raiser at Art Basel in Miami Beach, and like any perfectionist she wanted to taste the wines that could be served. She knelt on the floor as she considered various reds and whites and a rosé—or "summer water," as she called it. "Roxane," Madonna said. "You don't have to wear that dress tonight. …" That's when I exhaled. This was familiar territory. My name is part of a well-known song or two. I smiled and said, "No, I do not." At one point she asked me for my opinion on a particularly troublesome wine, handed me her glass, and swore she didn't have anything contagious. I believed her and took a sip. To be fair, the wine was terrible—it tasted like vinegar—and the year on the bottle said 2016, so it wasn't really wine yet. It was the suggestion of wine.
Madonna is very good at multitasking. While she was considering the wines, she held forth with me, and before long she was done with the bad wine. "Take the mediocre out of here," she tells Dustin, the strapping young man who served all the wine and apologized for its mediocrity even though that mediocrity was not his fault. "I'll go broke before I drink bad wine," she declared, and I was entirely in agreement. I wanted nothing more than for Madonna to offer her opinions on wine for the rest of the evening. Dustin promptly brought us the good wine, served in a crystal decanter. I drank it, and it was, indeed, good.
In the days leading up to our conversation, I kept wondering what I could possibly ask Madonna that she hadn't already been asked. She has been a figure in popular culture for more than 30 years. There was plenty I was curious about. I mean, I grew up on her music. As a good Catholic girl, I was obsessed with "Like a Prayer" and how she blended transubstantiation and eroticism. I listened to The Immaculate Collection nonstop. I coveted her book Sex, which came out just as I turned 18. I've been intrigued by her personal life. I've admired her stamina and artistic evolution. But I didn't want to ask silly questions. I didn't want to pry even though my job was, of course, to pry.
"I don't believe there's a certain age where you can't say and feel and be who you want to be."
Over the course of an hour, we talked about a great many things, but we started with her upcoming movie project, Loved, an adaptation of Andrew Sean Greer's novel The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. On her coffee table, there were binders filled with research for the project—potential settings, costumes, and so on. Madonna is thorough. In fact, she co-wrote the screenplay and will be directing the film. The novel follows the title character as she moves through time and negotiates three different lives she could have lived. The story also focuses on Greta's relationship with her gay twin brother, Felix, in those different lives. "It touches on a lot of really important topics I've always been invested in or championed—fighting for women's rights, gay rights, civil rights, always fighting for the underdog," Madonna says. "I've always felt oppressed. I know a lot of people would go, 'Oh, that's ridiculous for you to say that. You're a successful white, wealthy pop star,' but I've had the shit kicked out of me for my entire career, and a large part of that is because I'm female and also because I refuse to live a conventional life. I've created a very unconventional family. I have lovers who are three decades younger than me. This makes people very uncomfortable. I feel like everything I do makes people feel really uncomfortable. Why does this book appeal to me? Why did I want to adapt it into a screenplay? Because it touches me on so many levels and it deals with so many important topics. Right now, more than ever, it's an extremely timely story to tell."
Roxane Gay: As an artist, whether it's in film or music or writing, do you think your work is political?
RG: How so?
M: Because I'm political. I believe in freedom of expression, I don't believe in censorship. I believe in equal rights for all people. And I believe women should own their sexuality and sexual expression. I don't believe there's a certain age where you can't say and feel and be who you want to be. All you have to do is look at my career—from my Sex book to the songs I've written, kissing a black saint in my "Like a Prayer" video, the themes I explored on my Erotica album. As I get older and I get better at writing and expressing myself, then you get into my American Life era, and I start talking about politics and government and how fucked our country's politics are, and the illusion of fame and Hollywood and the beautiful people.
RG: It's been almost two weeks since the election. How did you feel in the wake of Donald Trump being elected president of the United States? Were you surprised?
M: On election night I was sitting at a table with my agent, who is also one of my very best friends, and we were truly praying. We were praying. She was on her computer. She's friends with someone who was working on Hillary [Clinton]'s campaign and was getting blow-by-blow reports, and at one point she was like, "It's not looking good." It was just like watching a horror show. And then she was reading from the Quran, and I was reading from the Zohar. We were doing everything: lighting candles, meditating, praying, offering our lives to God forever, if only. I went to sleep, and since that night, I wake up every morning and it's like when you break up with somebody who has really broken your heart. You wake up and for a second you're just you, and then you go, "Oh, the person I love more than anything has just broken my heart, and I'm devastated and I'm broken and I have nothing. I'm lost." That's how I feel every morning. I wake up and I go, "Wait a second. Donald Trump is the president. It's not a bad dream. It really happened." It's like being dumped by a lover and also being stuck in a nightmare.
"I wake up and I go, 'Wait a second. Donald Trump is the president. It's not a bad dream. It really happened.'"
RG: What do we do now?
M: I feel like I'm already doing it to a certain degree anyway and have been doing it. But I have to get way more vocal and become a little bit less mysterious. What I find really astonishing is how quiet everybody is in my industry. I mean, nobody in the entertainment business except for maybe a handful of people ever speak out about what's going on. Nobody takes a political stance or expresses an opinion.
RG: Why do you think that is?
M: They want to maintain a neutral position so they can maintain their popularity. I mean, if you have an opinion and people disagree with you, you might not get a job. You might be blacklisted. You might have fewer followers on Instagram. There are any number of things that would be detrimental to your career. Everyone's really afraid. Because it doesn't affect their daily life yet, no one's doing anything about it.
RG: How do you stay motivated after accomplishing so much?
M: Art keeps me alive. I've obviously been devastated or heartbroken all my life, since my mother's death. I've had so many challenges throughout my career, however successful people perceive me to be. The only way I've been able to survive the betrayal of lovers, family members, and society is to be able to create as an artist.
RG: What beyond art gives you that kind of drive to keep doing what you do?
M: Wanting to inspire people. Wanting to touch people's hearts to get them to look at life in a different way. To be a part of evolution, because, for me, it's either you're part of creation or you're part of destruction. It's inexplicable; it's like breathing, and I can't imagine not doing it. That is one of the arguments I would get into with my ex-husband, who used to say to me, "But why do you have to do this again? Why do you have to make another record? Why do you have to go on tour? Why do you have to make a movie?" And I'm like, "Why do I have to explain myself?" I feel like that's a very sexist thing to say.
RG: Yes. Because nobody asks men that.
M: Does somebody ask Steven Spielberg why he's still making movies? Hasn't he had enough success? Hasn't he made enough money? Hasn't he made a name for himself? Did somebody go to Pablo Picasso and say, "Okay, you're 80 years old. Haven't you painted enough paintings?" No. I'm so tired of that question. I just don't understand it. I'll stop doing everything that I do when I don't want to do it anymore. I'll stop when I run out of ideas. I'll stop when you fucking kill me. How about that?
RG: Do you still feel the same rush when you accomplish some new milestone? Or does it become commonplace?
M: No. When I made secretprojectrevolution [the 2013 short film that Madonna directed with the photographer Steven Klein, which dealt with the subject of artistic freedom], that was really exciting because it was a very political statement. And whenever I do my live shows, I feel artistically inspired and excited because I get to do and say a lot of things that I can't if I just make a record. A lot of times it's the only way people are going to hear my music because you don't get to have your music played on Top 40 if you're above the age of 35. It's always exciting for me to perform. I'm liking the idea more and more of just standing up with a microphone and talking. I like talking; I like playing with the audience. That's what I've started to do with "Tears of a Clown" [Madonna's most recent stage show, which combines music and storytelling]. I'm obsessed with clowns and what they represent and the idea that clowns are supposed to make you laugh, but inevitably they're hiding something. That's how I look at my life. I keep telling Amy Schumer and Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock that I'm going to do stand-up and they'd better watch out. I'm coming. I'm coming right behind them.
RG: What are you reading right now?
M: I'm reading several books. I cheat on my books a lot, which is not a good thing because it's good to stick with one book and get to the end of it, but I'm a book philanderer. I'm reading The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman, and before that I was reading All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. I was also reading Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, even though it's not a new book.
RG: My editor at Harper's Bazaar told me that you read an excerpt from The Beautiful and Damned for a video that you did for the magazine. I was curious as to why you chose that book.
"I refuse to live a conventional life. I've created a very unconventional family. I have lovers who are three decades younger than me. This makes people very uncomfortable."
M: I worship F. Scott Fitzgerald and I love his writing, and I felt like what we were shooting, that somehow there was some kind of connection to his stories and the decadence of that time, but also to the lack of expression. Or the inability of women to express themselves really. They were beautiful and damned.
RG: I have one last question: What do you like most about the art that you make?
M: I think it depends on what I'm making. I like pushing the envelope. But I don't like to do it just for the sake of doing it. I don't like to be provocative for the sake of being provocative. I like to be provocative. I like to make people think. I like to touch people's hearts. And if I can do all three of those things in one fell swoop, then I feel like I've really accomplished something.
This article originally appeared in the February issue of Harper's BAZAAR, available on newsstands January 17.
Lead image: Alberta Ferretti gown; Erickson Beamon necklace; From left: Yeprem rings, Gucci, Sylva & Cie rings, and House of Emmanuele rings; New York Vintage headband (worn as bracelet); Carine Gilson garter belt; Madonna's own spike bracelets and stockings.
Photographs by Luigi & Iango; Hair: Andy LeCompte for Wella Professionals; Makeup: Aaron Henrikson; Manicure: Naomi Yasuda for Dior Vernis; Production: Beth Klein Productions; Set Design: Philipp Haemmerle. Special thanks to Diamond Horseshoe, New York.
The new year is only one week old and the first magazine cover is already revealed! Madonna will grace the cover of fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar. Two pictures shot by Luigi & Iango have been revealed to be part of the issue of February 2017.↑ Back to top of page