Madonna news - July 2017

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Patrick Leonard discusses Dear Jessie (instrumental) demo

Source: Instagram - 30 July 2017

On his Instagram, longtime Madonna producer and collaborator Patrick Leonard discusses an early demo of Dear Jessie, which was dedicated to his own daughter Jessie. Out of respect for Madonna, he stripped the vocals out of the demo.

My favorite pic of Jessie. Working on Dear Jessie for the sept 12th show @joespub in NY. Here's a little slice from the original demo. No vocal (sorry guys) #dearjessie #madonna

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One fan asked Leonard about the influences for the song:

cwfue: @patrickleonardofficial I remember the reviews of this track were that it was psychedelic / Beatlesesque. Were they an influence? Also was this perhaps the first time Madonna was feeling broody?

patrickleonardofficial@cwfue the day we wrote I suggested the flavor of "Dear Prudence" and M said "Dear Jessie". She and Jess were good buddies in those days.

Another noticed some similarities with Open Your Heart:

anduco: Open your heart flavour ? Or it's just me ? 😂

patrickleonardofficial: @anduco good chance it's the same kick and snare samples.

Madonna delivers surprise performance at Leonardo DiCaprio's fundraiser

Source: Hollywood Reporter - 27 July 2017

The 4th annual event pulled in $30 million and also featured appearances by Lenny Kravitz and DiCaprio's 'Titanic' co-star Kate Winslet.

Leonardo DiCaprio can still draw a crowd while hauling in some major cash. 

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation played host at the 4th annual fundraising auction gala on Wednesday in St. Tropez where the Oscar-winning actor welcomed friends and allies who share LDF's mission of "protecting the earth and all of its inhabitants through projects that build climate resiliency, protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction and restore balance to threatened ecosystems and communities."

This Man is a BOSS!! 🎩 Thank you Leo for all you do for Mother Earth! 🌎🌏🌍 Your generosity and care is beyond measure! 🌈🎉🙏🏻💘🌎🌏🌍 @leonardodicapriofdn

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

The event brought in a whopping $30 million thanks to table sales and the exclusive auction, which is always heavy on art. Though there is a ways to go to reach last year's tally of $45 million, Wednesday's auction, conducted by Simon de Pury, featured works by Paul McCarthy, Damien Hirst, Jonas Wood, Cecily Brown, Richard Prince and a special commission by Lawrence Weiner. 

The experiences section has also snagged a fair share of headlines in the hours after the event thanks to the promise of a Titanic reunion over dinner. DiCaprio and Winslet will pair up for a dinner date with a winning bidder in New York this fall. Other auction items are now available online. Art featured in the auction was curated by Lisa Schiff of SFA Advisory with Andy Boose and AAB Productions handling event production duties.

Winslet was in attendance along with another Titanic star, Billy Zane (who documented the trio's Titanic reunion on his Instagram account, below). Joining them were Adrien Brody, Tobey Maguire, Anne Hidalgo, Doutzen Kroes, Taylor Hill, Imaan Hammam and Gerard Butler. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was honored with the foundation’s “New World Leadership Award” for her commitment to bringing about sustainable policies and innovative climate resiliency programs in Paris. 

🌎🌏🌍🌈💘🙏🏻@leonardodicapriofdn Such an honor to be here supporting Leo's foundation and doing what we can to save Planet Earth! 🌍🌎🌏🙏🏻

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

There was another reunion worth noting. Sean Penn was there too, and he watched ex Madonna hit the stage to perform songs including "4 Minutes," "Ray of Light," "Ghosttown," "Open Your Heart" and "La Isla Bonita." Lenny Kravitz also rocked out for the jet set crowd. 

DiCaprio, the LDF founder and chairman, presided over the festivities with foundation CEO Terry Tamminen and the global fundraising chairman Milutin Gatsby, who spearheaded the launch of the gala. “The health of our planet is grave — this crisis is real," DiCaprio said in his remarks. "What we seem to lose sight of is that we are part of nature, in fact we depend on nature for our very survival. Our natural systems sustain us with all that is necessary for life — such as ample food, clean air and drinkable water.” 

Madonna on stage with Leonardo Dicaprio and Lenny Kravitz

He also explained the impact his foundation has had with its environmental efforts. "We helped protect more than 1.6 million square kilometers of ocean — an area more than twice the size of Texas — including in the Ross Sea. Our work is helping save endangered species such as the wild jaguar and the Gray Wolf, which has made a comeback after being on the brink of extinction," he noted. "We are active in Tanzania, restoring the wildlife of Mkomazi national park, and in the grasslands of Kenya, where we are helping jump start an important carbon sequestration project. These are just a few of the stories about the impact the generosity of our donors has helped make possible.” 

Madonna accepts damages over 'invasion of privacy'

Source: BBC - 27 July 2017

Madonna and her adopted twin daughters have accepted undisclosed damages from Associated Newspapers over a "serious invasion of privacy".

The singer adopted four-year-old twins Stella and Estere in February.

At the time she asked the media to "respect our privacy during this transitional time."

Madonna brought the case at London's High Court over a MailOnline article that caused her "considerable personal distress", her solicitor said.

The article - which appeared in January, before Madonna had formally adopted the twins - revealed the girls' names, race and age.

It also disclosed the fact they lived in an orphanage in Malawi and were the subject of pending applications for adoption by the singer.

Madonna and her kids at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

"The MailOnline published it at a time when, as the journalist ought to have appreciated, Madonna would be powerless to protect the girls from harm," solicitor Jenny Afia told Mrs Justice Nicola Davies on Thursday.

"Their actions could, in her view, have threatened the integrity and/or outcome of the adoption process which would have had potentially life-changing implications for the girls, as well as for Madonna and her family."

"Many people in Malawi know of Madonna as an individual of fame and financial means," she went on.

"In the circumstances, Madonna believes that it would (and should) have been self-evident to the reporter that the protection of the girls' identities pending the decision about their potential adoption was likely to be vital for their safety and welfare."

After the hearing, Ms Afia said: "Madonna brought this litigation because the newspaper threatened her girls' safety by naming them before they were adopted.

"She will always take all possible steps to protect her family's well-being."

Ms Afia added that Madonna would donate the damages to The Mercy James Institute for Paediatric Surgery.

The children's hospital in Malawi opened earlier this month and is named after one of the singer's other adopted daughters.

"She is pleased that at least some good can come out of the situation," Ms Afia said.

Tour broadcast sold in European and Asian markets

Source: C21Media - 25 July 2017

A two-hour television special about pop icon Madonna's 2016 tour has secured major sales across Europe and Asia.

Madonna - Rebel Heart Tour (photo by Josh Brandão)

New Jersey-based Alfred Haber Distribution (AHDI) today announced deals for its recently acquired title Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour, which aired stateside on cable network Showtime.

The show has landed sales with international broadcasters including Nine Network (Australia), NRJ12 (France), Telefonica (Spain), Wowow (Japan) and GMA Network (the Philippines).

Produced by global entertainment company Live Nation and Showtime, the special is a two-hour compilation of footage from Madonna’s 2016 tour, which enabled her to become the highest-grossing solo artist in history, according to AHDI. It includes live material and behind-the-scenes images shot at her concerts.

SECTIONS: C21Factual
TAGS: Distribution
GENRES: Factual
SHOWS: Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour
PEOPLE: Alfred Haber
COMPANIES: Alfred Haber Distribution, GMA Network, Live Nation, Nine Network, NRJ12, Showtime, Telefónica, Wowow
COUNTRIES: Australia, France, Japan, Philippines, Spain

Is Madonna performing at Leonardo DiCaprio's fund raising event?

Source: Instagram - 24 July 2017

Madonna has started the rumour mill by posting a short video of her rehearsing Open Your Heart. Quickly, everyone on the web was wondering when and where she will be performing.

In a thermo nuclear universe somewhere I am trying to break in a new pair of 👠👠's. 🌍🌎🌏🌈🙏🏻

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

Meanwhile, it's been announced that Madonna is part of the guest list of Leonardo DiCaprio's annual Saint-Tropez Gala, which takes place on Wednesday July 26.

Only Lenny Kravitz is officially listed as performer, but it's possible Madonna is preparing a surprise performance.

Invitation for Leonardo DiCaprio's annual Saint-Tropez Gala

In another Instagram post Madonna refers to the "New moon of Leo", which refers to her own Zodiac sign, but could also reference Leonardo DiCaprio.

The other part of the text remains mysterious: "The next 9 days are going to be bumpy", which seems to indicate something else than an event in two days...

What is our queen up to? The next few days will tell!

Its the. NEw moon 🌙 of Leo 🦁 Bitches! Fasten Your seat belts! ⛑ The Next 9 days are going to be Bumpy! 🔥🔥🔥

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

Ex-con is auctioning off Madonna’s panties that she gave him before boarding plane in 1994

Source: NY Daily News - 21 July 2017

A convicted drug dealer who dated Madonna has returned to a material world after 21 years in prison — so he's selling her panties.

Peter Shue told the Daily News there's no sentimental value to the love letter and underwear he received from the Queen of Pop in 1994, when he was a high-rolling hustler known for his parties frequented by celebs.

"What am I gonna keep them for? I don't wear them," Shue, 58, said of Madge's white satin undergarments.

"I'm not going to give them to no girl to wear. Am I gonna trash them? Hm, should I throw them in the garbage? Or should I try to get a dollar off of them? What would you do?"

The undies, along with Madonna’s other personal belongings, were to be part of an online auction by Gotta Have Rock and Roll that started Wednesday.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits temporarily halted the auction of 22 items after Madonna filed an emergency petition on Tuesday, arguing many of them were "highly confidential and embarrassing" and not for sale. On Thursday, Lebovits reaffirmed his decision.

'What am I gonna keep them for? I don't wear them,' said Shue, photographed at Harlem Masters barbershop on Lenox Ave. on Thursday.

Bids for Madonna's skivvies were to start at $5,000. The auction house will get 15% of the winning bid, the rest will go to Shue, he said. He dismissed concerns about Madonna's privacy, saying there was no question her unmentionables were his.

"If she feels that strongly about the underwear she could bid on the auction. Nobody can outbid her — get her panties back!" he said.

"She's not gonna do that."

Shue said he has let go of any anger against Madonna during his 21 years he was locked up for attempting to buy 15 kilos of cocaine. He is certain Madge had set him up.

"I really don't have good things to say about her," he said.

"I was trying to get my money washed through her and maybe she was trying to get me locked up."

Before their relationship went south Shue and Madonna had a romance that could have only happened in New York in the 1990s. The drug dealer who threw black tie affairs first met the superstar on a Sunday at the now-closed W. 79th St. party spot Chaz and Wilson's Grill.

Shue recalled one of Madonna's assistants approached him at the bar and said the chart topper wanted to talk to him.

"I said I like my women black, like my coffee," he joked.

Soon, Madonna tapped him on the shoulder.

"She said that was a racist comment," Shue recalled.

That evening, Shue claims he ended up at Madonna's home nearby on W. 64th St.

"It was a regular night to me. You meet somebody, you go home, if something happens it happens," said Shue, who was far more explicit in his self-published memoir, “The Peter Shue Story, The Life of the Party.”

Soon, Shue was traveling on the "Vogue" singer's private jet, visiting her in Miami and elsewhere.

"She always told me she liked the way my eyes was, that she wanted to have a baby from me," said Shue, who grew up in the South Bronx, the son of a Chinese father and black mother.

During their less than yearlong fling, Madonna urged Shue to fly to France with her. When he declined, she sent him the gift he would put up for auction 23 years later.

"Before she got on the plane she took the underwear off — she didn't have no panties when she got on the plane — and sent one of her PR people to me with the panties and the note," he said.

The package also included a photo of Madonna's new dog and a recording of her latest tunes.

"The underwear you requested — holy water for obvious reasons — and my new record," the note read. "Please listen to it when you're alone - preferably with candles lit around you and no interruptions!"

Shue could not recall the significance of the holy water. Madonna's attorney, Brendan O'Rourke, declined to comment. A message left with Madonna's agent was not returned.

The romance took a bow as Shue tried to maintain a relationship with another woman, he said. Madonna wanted Shue to appear in a music video for her song, "Secret," but he couldn't make it. So another guy who looked like Shue appeared in the video, he said.

Madonna then introduced Shue to Arlyne Brickman, who had written a book, "Mob Girl." Madonna was in talks to portray Brickman, a mafia informant, in a movie, Shue said.

Brickman persuaded Shue to pursue the drug deal that led to his conviction on two drug charges and gun possession in 1996. Brickman, who could not be reached, testified at his trial.

Still, Shue did not wish ill on Madonna.

"I would never socialize with her. I wouldn't want to hang with her. But I forgive her," Shue said.

"We might have had two different agendas and she actually won the chess match."

Madonna wins emergency halt to auction of ‘personally worn panties,' Tupac prison letter

Source: NY Daily News - 19 July 2017

She's a "Material Girl" — and those are her materials.

Madonna won an emergency court order Tuesday barring an auction house from putting an array of memorabilia up for bid, including her love letters, "personally worn panties" and a handwritten letter from her former boyfriend Tupac Shakur while he was in prison.

The temporary restraining order issued by Justice Gerald Lebovits halted, for now, the online auction by Gotta Have Rock and Roll that was to begin Wednesday morning.

In an affidavit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Madonna, 58, said she learned of the planned auction of belongings she thought were still in her possession on July 8. She blamed a "former friend," Darlene Lutz.

Madonna believed the pilfered panties were still in her possession, according to the affidavit. (COURT DOCUMENT)

"I became aware through media reports that there was a planned auction of extremely personal, private correspondence I received from a former boyfriend, the late recording artist and actor Tupac Shakur," Madonna said of the letter with a minimum bid of $100,000.

"I had no idea that the Shakur Letter was no longer in my possession."

In the 1995 note to Madonna, Shakur (inset) blamed their breakup on society's perception of a black man dating an older white woman.

Private, raunchy photographs are among the Material Girl's affects slated for auction. (COURT DOCUMENT)

The auction includes more than 120 of Madonna's items, though the Queen of Pop sought to block the sale of only 22 of them. Her lawyer Brendan O'Rourke described those lots as "highly confidential and embarrassing."

A spokesman for the E. 57th St. auction house said "Madonna and her legal army have taken what we believe to be a completely baseless and meritless action to temporarily halt the sale of Ms. Lutz's legal property. We believe that her intent is nothing more than to besmirch the good reputations of the auction house and Ms. Lutz."

Among the items: a letter from the early 1990s from Madonna to actor John Enos, whom she once dated, in which she called Whitney Houston and Sharon Stone "so horribly mediocre."

Also on the auction block is emotional correspondence between Madonna and Tupac Shakur. Also on the auction block is emotional correspondence between Madonna and Tupac Shakur.

"Maybe this is what black people felt like when Elvis Presley got huge," she wrote, according to the auction site. "It's so unequivocally frustrating to read that Whitney Houston has the music career I wish I had and Sharon Stone has the film career I'll never have. Not because I want to be these women because I'd rather die but they're so horribly mediocre."

Papers note that many of the items up for auction came from Madonna's Miami home. Lutz helped pack up property when Madonna moved out.

Other belongings up for bid include private letters, photos and a brush with Madonna's hair.

Madonna continues charity work in Malawi following the opening of the Mercy James Center

Source: Celebhour - 18 July 2017

Is there anything Madonna can't do? The Material Girl is continuing her charity ventures in Malawi as she vows to help even more children in need.

The star has been in the East African country for the opening of the Mercy James Center, the first children's hospital of its kind over there.

She also made a visit to the Home of Hope children's home to help raise awareness of their amazing work.

Madonna and daughter Mercy James at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

Taking to Instagram, the blonde music icon shared an adorable video of her dancing and singing with the orphans who live there.

Asking her 9 million followers to donate to the organisation, she wrote,

Home of Hope Orphanage takes care of 700 children!! We get so much joy from them every time we visit!!! Please help [Raising Malawi] help [Home of Hope]! They need it so much! To give is to receive!

Home Of Hope Orphanage takes care of 700. children!! We get so much joy from them every time we visit!!! Please help @raisingmalawi Help H.O.H.!! They need so much! 🌈💘🌍🙏🏻 To Give Is To Receive!! 🇲🇼🇲🇼🇲🇼♥️ Zikomo! 🇲🇼♥️@nunoxico @raisingmalawi

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The heartwarming clip shows the amazing work being fulfilled by the charity.

And it's pretty clear just how much the country and its people mean to the 59-year old superstar.

She set up the Raising Malawi foundation in 2006 as a way of fighting the extreme poverty that millions of orphans face.

And she's since been providing better healthcare and education for so many vulnerable children, even taking four Malawian children under her wing and adopting them as her own.

She adopted her son David in 2006, the same year she founded the charity, while her daughter Mercy James came to live with her in 2009.

The most recent additions to the family, twins Esther and Stella, were adopted in February.

She also has two elder children, Lourdes and Rocco, from previous relationships.

And it was a "family affair" last Tuesday when the Mercy James Institute for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care opened in Malawi’s commercial capital of Blantyre.

Its a Family Affair!! ♥️🇲🇼🌺♥️🇲🇼♥️🌺🌍🌍🌍🌍At the Opening of The Mercy James Center!! 🙏🏻 @raisingmalawi

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Mercy James, 11, said of her mom's latest venture,

It is a great honor to know this hospital is named after me. But what's more important is that we may help many kids and save many lives.

Talking of how much the country means to her, the "Like a Prayer" singer explained,

Malawi has enriched my family more than I could have ever imagined. It's important for me to make sure all my children from the country maintain a strong connection to their birth nation, and equally important to show them that together, humans have the power to change the world for the better.

Fashion video network M2M dedicates minidoc on Madonna's incredible career

Source: M2M - 14 July 2017

M2M has dedicated a raving review of Madonna's career in one of their mini-documentaries today. Have a look!

Widely regarded as the Queen of Pop, Madonna transformed the very idea of what a female artist could be. After thirteen studio albums and four decades of music, she's not giving up her crown anytime soon.

Sharon Stone supports Madonna over letter insult

Source: BBC - 14 July 2017

Sharon Stone has said she refuses to be "pitted against" Madonna after the publication of a letter the singer wrote in the 1990s in which she called the actress "horribly mediocre".

In the letter, Madonna said she didn't like how her acting career was compared to that of the Basic Instinct star.

"Know that I am your friend," Stone wrote in response on Facebook.

"I have wished to be a rock star in some private moments... [and] have felt as mediocre as you described."

Madonna and Sharon Stone

'Owning our own mediocrity'

The actress said it was "absurd" that some of Madonna's private letters had been published after being entered in an auction.

She continued: "We know, as only those who have survived so long that owning our own mediocrity is the only way to own our own strengths; to become all that we both have become.

"I love and adore you; won't be pitted against you by any invasion of our personal journeys."

The 59-year-old star was responding to a letter in which Madonna said she was fed up with reading that Stone had "the film career I'll never have".

The handwritten letter, addressed to "J", is believed to have been written to John Enos, an actor she once dated.

In it, she admits to being "uncomfortable in my own skin" and "so discouraged" and having a "black black black" outlook on life.

"It's so unequivically [sic] frustrating to read that Whitney Houston has the music career I wish I had and Sharon Stone has the film career I'll never have," she wrote.

"They're so horribly mediocre and they're always being held up as paragons of virtue and some sort of measuring stick to humiliate me."

The letter had been included in an online sale of Madonna memorabilia scheduled to begin on 19 July.

As of Friday morning, though, it no longer appeared to be among the lots on offer on the Gotta Have Rock and Roll site.

Other letters offered for sale include one Madonna received from rapper Tupac Shakur, in which he said race had been a factor in his decision to break up with her.

All the biggest moments from Madonna's decade-plus of charity work in Malawi

Source: Billboard - 13 July 2017

More than a decade of charity work in Malawi came full-circle for Madonna on Tuesday (July 11) when, after opening a children's hospital wing in the impoverished South African country, its president named the pop star "the daughter of this nation."

And while President Peter Mutharika's phrasing was meant to reference Madonna's own adoption of four children from Malawi, the singer has tight enough connections of her own to the country for it to feel like home. Since founding the nonprofit Raising Malawi in 2006, the charitable star has led a continuous effort to support the nation's orphaned or otherwise vulnerable children -- whether through hosting benefits, producing a documentary and, now, opening the Mercy James Institute of Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, the first of its kind in the country.

The singer's efforts haven't come without inevitable road blocks -- not to mention a few controversies. But if our roundup of the landmark moments in Madonna's charity efforts in the African country is any indication, the singer will continue to be a "daughter" of Malawi for years to come.

2006: Madonna makes her first trip to Malawi

Madonna was first spurred to visit the South African nation after a Malawian businesswoman, admiring Madonna's previous work with the nonprofit Spirituality for Kids, reached out to the pop star in hopes that she'd be willing to offer a hand in Malawi too. Madonna did much more than that -- shortly after taking up the invitation, the singer made a second trip to Malawi, where she adopted her son David. It wasn't long before Madonna would take a bigger step toward aiding the poverty-stricken country with the founding of Raising Malawi.

2008: Raising Malawi holds star-packed fundraiser at United Nations headquarters

Celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez and Tom Cruise forked over up to $10,000 each to attend a Madonna-fronted fundraiser at the United Nations' New York headquarters back in 2008. Though the pop star faced backlash for her choice of event partner -- Gucci, which was promoting a new store in the city at the time -- the event reportedly raised $3.7 million, which was split between benefiting Raising Malawi and Unicef, the children's arm of the UN.

2008: Madonna presents I Am Because We Are documentary

That same year, the pop star took her charity work to the big screen with I Am Because We Are, a documentary she wrote and produced for the Tribeca Film Festival. Directed by first-timer Nathan Rissman, the film follows Madonna as she journeys through Malawi, introducing viewers to the country's orphaned children and gleaning insights from interviews with professors, experts and even former President Bill Clinton.

2013: Madonna opens 10 schools in Malawi in partnership with buildOn

In January 2012, international youth-serving nonprofit buildOn announced a partnership with Madonna and her foundation to construct 10 primary schools in rural Malawi within 18 months. In fact, the schools were completed in just 12 months. Raising Malawi provided $300,000 to buildOn for the project, which aimed to serve about 1,000 boys and girls in the nation. The success came after a string of setbacks -- earlier in 2011, Madonna's organization had scrapped plans to build a $15 million girls' school in the country due to financial mismanagement.

2014: Malawi President Peter Mutharika appoints Madonna the country's Goodwill ambassador for child welfare

Shortly after Madonna spent Thanksgiving in Malawi with her adopted Malawian children, Mercy James and David Banda, Mutharika added a new title to Madonna's belt: the nation's Goodwill ambassador for child welfare. At the time, the singer had also just launched her now-fulfilled goal to open the Mercy James Institute -- and was still recovering from the tabloid mess that ensued after her very public falling-out with Malawi's former president, Joyce Banda.

Learning under a tree in Chabuula! #buildon #raisingmalawi #livingforlove

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2016: Madonna flies to Malawi to check in on Mercy James Institute construction

The singer and several Rising Malawi team members took a trip to Malawi last year to ensure that the Mercy James Institute was coming along smoothly. During the trip, they also met with Muthrika to discuss girls' education and visited the Home of Hope orphanage, where they played soccer with the school's children. "Children are the future," Madonna says in a video documenting the trip (below). "Ultimately, my children have been my teachers."

2016: Madonna's "Evening of Art, Mischief, and Music" rakes in $7.5 million for Raising Malawi

A benefit held by Madonna in Miami last winter -- and held smack in the middle of the city's annual Art Basel fair -- invited 450 guests to bid on art and experiences in a live auction. The event raised $7.5 million toward Raising Malawi's goal to open the Mercy James Institute. To thank attendees for their donations, the glamorous party closed with a performance by Madonna herself.

David & Dr. Borgstein were just a few of the night's special guests to take the stage. 👏👏👏 #raisingmalawi #malawi #artbasel #madonna 📷: Jeff Kravitz

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2017: Raising Malawi's Mercy James Institute children's hospital wing opens its doors

The pediatric surgery and intensive care unit, named after one of Madonna's adopted Malawian children, finally celebrated its official opening July 11. Located at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in the city of Blantyre, the institute has already completed its first surgery, Madonna said at the ceremony, where she was praised by Mutharika for her service. "You started by adopting four Malawian children," he explained. "Now we are adopting you as the daughter of this nation."

One More Day!! 🎉🎉🎉! So Excited for the Opening of the Mercy James Center! 🙏🏻Thanks to everyone all around the world for making this dream a reality! 🌍🌈♥️🇲🇼🌍🙏🏻🎉🎉🎉🌍💘🙏🏻 @raisingmalawi

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Madonna recalls emotional fight to adopt daughter Mercy James: 'I never gave up'

Source: MSN/Reuters - 12 July 2017

Nearly eight years ago, Madonna went up against Malawi's highest court to win the right to adopt then-4-year-old Mercy James.

Fast forward to today, the songstress opened the country's first-ever pediatric surgery and intensive care center, which she named The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, after her now-11-year-old daughter.

At the opening ceremony on Tuesday, Madonna recalled the emotional three-and-a-half year journey she went through to call Mercy her own after she had successfully adopted son David Banda in 2006.

"I met Mercy soon after I met my son David, but they were living in different orphanages. David was in Mchinji in Home of Hope, and Mercy was here in Blantyre at Kondanani. Mercy was suffering from malaria, and David from pneumonia. And when I held each of them in my arms, I whispered in their ears, that I would look after them. And I promised them that they would grow up into strong and healthy adults," Madonna told the audience at the Queen Central Hospital.

Madonna and daughter Mercy James at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

"I was granted permission to adopt David first. And some time later, I filed a petition to adopt Mercy. But this time, the judge who was presiding said no. I was recently divorced, and she informed me, as a divorced woman, I was not fit to raise children and that Mercy James was better off growing up in an orphanage," the seven-time Grammy winner continued.

The adoption raised strong public reaction because Malawian law requires would-be parents to reside in Malawi for one year before adopting, which Madonna did not do. In addition, she was in the process of legally separating from second husband Guy Ritchie, citing irreconcilable differences. Mercy was placed at Children's Village following the death of her teenage mother.

Madonna with David and Esther at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

"If you know me, you can imagine how I received this information. It's true, I am a freedom fighter. I am a feminist. I am a rebel heart. But I am also a compassionate and intelligent human being. And if you cannot give me a logical reason for the word ‘no,' then I will not accept the word ‘no.' I hired a team of lawyers, and I took my case to the supreme court, and it was not an easy battle," Madonna said in her moving speech.

"The adoption laws in Malawi had not been reformed since the early '40s, and it had not occurred to anyone to change them yet. So my argument was that women have been raising children for centuries, on their own … not to mention the fact that I was doing just fine raising my own three children," she said.

Madonna and David dance at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

David's adoption had been rushed through because a court had granted an interim order, but Madonna faced more judicial pushback in Mercy's case.

"I never gave up. And I never backed down. And I believe that if you want something badly enough in life, the universe will conspire to help you get it. It may not be exactly when you want it, it may not come exactly when you think it's gonna come. It may not come in the package that you want it. But if you persevere, you will win," the entertainer emphasized.

Concluding, "I fought for Mercy, and I won. It wasn't easy. And with the blood, sweat, and tears of so many people here today, we fought for this hospital—and we won. So I'm here to say: never, ever give up on your dreams. Never stop fighting for what you believe in. And finally: Love conquers all." 

Madonna dances at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

All of Madonna's six children, except daughter Lourdes, were at Tuesday's ceremony. David Banda danced with kids from the Jacaranda School for Orphans, Rocco painted a mural in the hospital and Mercy James gave a speech, calling her mom "the bomb" — and then dabbed at the end.

The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at the Queen Central Hospital was funded by Madonna's charity, Raising Malawi, which she founded in 2006.

Madonna said the center has been up and running since the end of June, and the first surgery was completed last week, nearly two years after construction began on the center in 2015. The facility includes three operating rooms for children's surgery, as well as a day clinic and a ward with 45 beds.

Madonna takes kids back to Malawi to open hospital

Source: Yahoo/AFP - 12 July 2017

US pop superstar Madonna on Tuesday took her four adopted Malawian children back to their home country for the opening of a paediatric hospital wing that her charity has built.

Standing alongside President Peter Mutharika, she unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the 50-bed facility in Malawi's second city of Blantyre.

Madonna with David and Esther at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

The Mercy James Institute of Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care -- named after one of her children -- has taken two years to build and includes three specialist operating theatres.

It is the first health unit for children in the southern African nation, and will double the capacity for paediatric care at the Queen Elizabeth hospital.

Earlier this year Madonna, 58, adopted twin girls from an orphanage in Malawi, where she has been a regular visitor for several years.

Twins Estere and Stella, four years old, joined her other Malawian children, Mercy James and David Banda, both aged 11.

"I am a freedom fighter and a feminist with a rebel heart... so I would not accept the word 'no'," a smiling Madonna told a crowd of well-wishers as she described the challenges of adopting the children.

Madonna and David at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

"I never gave up or backed down. I fought for Mercy and won," she said, adding the hospital was built because "children should never die of terrible diseases we can easily cure."

Madonna, who set up her "Raising Malawi" charity in 2006, joined in with local dancers to celebrate the opening after a one-hour tour of the hospital, which was decorated with national flags and bunting.

The wards have been designed with murals including images of Nelson Mandela and archbishop Desmond Tutu, while US actor Leonardo DiCaprio was listed on a wall as a major benefactor.

Mutharika cut a blue ceremonial ribbon, and held it up to the cheering crowd.

Mercy James gave a short speech saying it was "a great honour that the centre will save many lives," while David Banda joined a performance by an orphans' acrobatic dance group.

Madonna dances at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

- 'A chance of survival' -

Madonna has not always been welcomed with open arms in Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries, where some activists accuse her of using her wealth to short-cut the adoption process.

In 2013, she was stripped of her official VIP status by then president Joyce Banda's government, which accused her of being "uncouth" and expecting gratitude for her adoptions.

President Mutharika has since moved to repair the relationship.

On Tuesday he praised Madonna for building "the first and best child care centre" in Malawi and described her as a "symbol of motherly spirit."

Madonna dances at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

The singer, who divorced film director Guy Ritchie in 2008, now has six children after adopting her twins.

Court documents detailed how the twins were taken in by an orphanage supported by Madonna's charity.

Their mother died soon after childbirth, their father left to marry another woman, and their grandmother struggled to look after several children.

"Malawi needs such kind-hearted people to prosper," Malita Ndau, a 20-year-old woman selling doughnuts in Blantyre, told AFP.

Madonna at the opening of the Mercy James Center in Malawi

"Malawian children will now have a chance of survival because of this hospital."

But some Malawians said the hospital highlighted the country's failures.

Malawi should "be ashamed for begging from her to build this facility because we have failed to tame corruption," said Mumbo Phiri, who sells second-hand clothes.

The new hospital wing opened to patients last week and has already performed its first surgery.

Madonna Instagrams opening of Mercy James Center

Source: Instagram - 11 July 2017

One More Day!! 🎉🎉🎉! So Excited for the Opening of the Mercy James Center! 🙏🏻Thanks to everyone all around the world for making this dream a reality! 🌍🌈♥️🇲🇼🌍🙏🏻🎉🎉🎉🌍💘🙏🏻 @raisingmalawi

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

On our way to Blantyre!! 🚌🚌🚌🖤To the Opening of Mercy James Center! 🇲🇼♥️🇲🇼♥️🇲🇼♥️🇲🇼♥️🌍🌍🌍🌍🎉🎉🎉🎉🙏🏻@raisingmalawi

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

The Day has Finally arrived and so have we! 🎉🎉🎉 Entering the Mercy. James Center! 💕🌈Malawi's First Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. ♥️🇲🇼♥️🌍♥️🇲🇼🌍♥️🇲🇼🌍♥️🇲🇼🌍🌍🌍🌍🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻@cbssundaymorning @raisingmalawi

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

Warming up in Dr. B's office before my speech!! 🎉🌈💘🌍🌈🌍💃🏻♥️🇲🇼🇲🇼🇲🇼@raisingmalawi

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

Its a Family Affair!! ♥️🇲🇼🌺♥️🇲🇼♥️🌺🌍🌍🌍🌍At the Opening of The Mercy James Center!! 🙏🏻 @raisingmalawi

Een bericht gedeeld door Madonna (@madonna) op

Madonna welcomed in Malawi as 'daughter of this nation'

Source: MSN - 11 July 2017

Madonna was welcomed in Malawi on Tuesday for the official opening of a hospital children's wing funded by her charity and named after one of the four children the pop star has adopted from the impoverished southern African nation.

"You started by adopting four Malawian children, now we are adopting you as the daughter of this nation," President Peter Mutharika declared at the ceremony.

"There are so many things I never imagined I will do. I never imagined one day I will build this kind of a hospital," said Madonna, who explained that she grew up without a mother and wanted to give the best to Malawian children.

"Never give up on your dreams," she added.

Madonna sits with her adopted children Stella, David and Mercy, at the opening of The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, located at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in the city of Blantyre, Malawi, Tuesday, July 11, 2017.

The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, located at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in the city of Blantyre, was built in collaboration with Malawi's health ministry. It has already started some activities, and Madonna said last week that the institute had completed its first surgery.

The four children she adopted from Malawi are David Banda, Mercy James, Stelle and Estere. The children's wing was named after 11-year-old Mercy.

Madonna's charity, Raising Malawi, was founded in 2006 to address the poverty and hardship endured by the country's orphans and other vulnerable children. It has built schools and funded the new pediatric unit, which began construction in 2015 and includes three operating rooms dedicated to children's surgery, a day clinic and a 45-bed ward.

Madonna, 58, visited the site last year.

"When you look into the eyes of children in need, wherever they may be, a human being wants to do anything and everything they can to help, and on my first visit to Malawi, I made a commitment that I would do just that," Madonna said in a statement to The Associated Press last week.

Patrick Leonard discusses unreleased demo 'Angels with Dirty Faces'

Source: Instagram - 10 July 2017

Patrick Leonard, the famous Madonna collaborator who co-wrote and co-produced several of Madonna's hits, spilled the beans today on some old demo tracks from the Like A Prayer era.

On his Instagram he posted a snap of the written tracklist on the back of an old cassette. Apart from well known tracks such as Like A Prayer and Cherish, it also lists demo tracks from the same recording session.

My old friend and collaborator Bruce Gaitch just sent me this cassette. It's the demos for Like a Prayer. Haven't heard them since we did them. Should be interesting. #likeaprayer #madonna #demos

'Angels With Dirty Faces' was mentioned a few years ago by Bruce Gaitch (who is mentioned in Leonard's post), who said of the song: "I have a tape somewhere of some songs I had to learn parts from and none of these songs are on it. But there is a song called Angels with Dirty Faces on it that is killer". It seems it's this tape that he now sent to Patrick Leonard. Leonard gives us a bit more info about this track:

@ericmg and all of you. I just listened through it all. Too much there to even begin to tell about. Will tell you that "Angles" (this all came flooding back the second I heard it) is a song called "Angles With Dirty Faces" that M and I wrote for the album and ultimately must have decided wasn't good enough. Having said that, it's a finished song with her vocal that no one has ever heard and it's pretty darn good. Wish I could post it. Obviously I can't. Was crazy to hear it and vividly remember doing it. Just another song on another day of writing...then. Now it seems unreal that that's what we're up to... grateful for you fans. It's woken something up I'd left behind. Thank you all. PL.

My old friend and collaborator Bruce Gaitch just sent me this cassette. It's the demos for Like a Prayer. Haven't heard them since we did them. Should be interesting. #likeaprayer #madonna #demos

Een bericht gedeeld door Patrick Leonard (@patrickleonardofficial) op

In another post, Leonard shares a music sheet and explains that 'Little Girl' and 'Out Of Time' are early titles for respectively Promise To Try and Till Death Do Us Part.

He also says he'd love to share the music on the demo tape but he can't, joking that he'd be "drawn and quartered" if he did.

Thought I'd better break down the cassette before somebody losses their mind. They're first day versions. So the day we wrote it. They have a lead vocal and some backgrounds. We worked from these versions and they became the records. The titles you recognize are what they say they are. Not produced. Without live players and strings and choirs etc. "Angels" is a song called Angels with dirty faces. It's complete. And was never released. Good too. LIttle Girl is Promise to Try. Piano vocal like the record but not that version. Out of Time is Till Death do us Part. Boss's Nova is a Latin feel idea that never got there. No vocal. Just an idea. 20's jazz, the same, as is Mid Tempo. Sparks that made no fire. It happens. Side two of the tape is blank so #11, 12 and dance don't exist. I can NOT release or put up snippets. I'd be drawn and quartered. Maybe I'll try and organize some kind of private listening. It would have to be in space so let's hit up Elon Musk. Wish I could release it all because I know how happy it would make you all. But, I can not. Respectfully. PL

Een bericht gedeeld door Patrick Leonard (@patrickleonardofficial) op

Lastly, he added the music sheets for Supernatural and Hanky Panky.

Supernatural. Original chart. Sometimes there's hardly anything on the page. #collaboration #madonna

Een bericht gedeeld door Patrick Leonard (@patrickleonardofficial) op

Name that tune? I'm digging though these old charts. Figure you all want to see them. #mypleasure

Een bericht gedeeld door Patrick Leonard (@patrickleonardofficial) op

Into The Groove spices up dance battle in Despicable Me 3

Source: Mad-Eyes - 2 July 2017

Despicable Me 3 is hitting movie theatres this week. This time we see Gru and his wife Lucy fighting supervillain Balthazar Bratt, a former child star gone rogue who is obsessed with the 1980s, when his fame was at its peak. Cue a lot of '80s references: among the rubik's cubes, yo-yo's, bubble gum and fitness craze, there's music from Michael Jackson, Phil Collins and of course Madonna. The final (dance) battle between Gru and Bratt is set to the tones of Into The Groove. The song is also available on the movie's official soundtrack.

Madonna announces opening date for Mercy James centre

Source: Malawi24 - 2 July 2017

American pop star Madonna has announced opening date for the state of the art children's hospital, Mercy James centre for pediatric surgery and intensive care, Malawi24 has learnt.

Madonna with David and Mercy James in Malawi last year

The singer who is a foster mother to four Malawian children made the revelation on Friday. She said the facility will open its doors on 11th July, 2017.

Success of the project is owed to the star's effort through an initiative called Raising Malawi. Madonna managed to convince others to contribute towards the project as she organised entertainment events in her native country, whose proceedings went to the project.

She dedicates it to the children of Malawi, her adopted daughter Mercy James in particular, hence naming it after her. Madonna adopted Mercy in 2009.

The facility is the first and the only one of its kind in Malawi. As such it is expected to benefit Malawian children which will in turn improve their health, considering that critical surgeries will be conducted at the centre.

As a token of appreciation, the American artist recognises every hand that played a part in making the project a success.

"Thanks to everyone, doctor, company, construction foreman (the list goes on) who have dedicated time, energy and effort to making this project a success."

Apart from adopting Malawian children, the artist's helping hand keeps extending to other children in the country.

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Divas & Queens: Watch 'Drag Race' queens sound off on Madonna

Source: Billboard - 2 July 2017

Billboard Pride asked several former contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race to sound off on some of our favorite divas. As part of our Divas & Queens series, the queens discuss Madonna in the video below.

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