Madonna was at times considered the 'Queen of Controversy'. Here is a collection of Madonna's most sexually explicit actions and her most religiously controversial moments throughout her career.
"Absolutely No Regrets." - Madonna, Human Nature.
Like A Virgin
Madonna's 1984 single, 'Like A Virgin' from the album with the same name was one of her most famous singles and was considered iconic, with a definitive statement. The lyrics describe how Madonna's "love-making" with her lover makes her feel "shiny and new", like a virgin. At this time, in the 80s it would be considered risque to speak of these things, let alone hear them on the radio or television. On the cover of the album and in the music video, Madonna is shown wearing a white wedding dress, which symbolizes purity of a female. In the song she claims that her lover makes her feel as if she was "touched for the very first time", indicating that it is actually not her "first time". Some may consider this a mockery of the wedding dress, as she dances around rebeliously and sexually wearing a symbol of religion, innocence, purity and sex before marriage. Others would just take it as another catchy pop tune by the new sex icon, Madonna.
To premiere her new single and the album, Madonna performed at the MTV Music awards, in '84 where she sang Like A Virgin and wore a white wedding dress, veil and belt buckle that read "Boy Toy". By the end of the performance Madonna had been rolling around on the stage and humping the floor, still in her wedding dress. During her Blonde Ambition Tour, she sang Like a Virgin, but this time appeared to be simulating masturbation while on stage. This performance was deemed one of Madonna's most controversial by critics and viewers and was the most ground-breaking point of her career.
BELOW IS A LINK TO MADONNA'S PREMIERE PERFORMANCE OF LIKE A VIRGIN AT THE MTV AWARDS.
Like A Prayer Video
Madonna's 1989 album, 'Like A Prayer', with it's hit title track of the same name, gained much publicity and caused controversy mainly due to the song's music video. The video featured Madonna wearing a thin slip dress while dancing in front of burning crosses. Also during the video, Madonna is shown inside a church where she is bowing and kissing an African-American man who is portrayed as a saint or a "God-like" figure. There is also a moment where she is holding a dagger which she cuts herself on, resulting in wounds on her hands that appear to look like the crucifixion stigmata. Many have viewed and interpretated this video as Christian blasphemy, religion linked with sex, racial and sexual empowerment; Others would regard the video as simply being an artistic and creative statement using religion as a way to send a message.
The video was immediately considered controversial by MTV and was protested worldwide by several religious groups for what they claimed to be blasphemous imagery of Christian beliefs. The Vatican wanted Madonna banned from performing in Italy after it too, deemed the music video as blasphemy. Prior to the video, Madonna did a Pepsi commercial that was to promote her new album and advertise Pepsi products. After the Like A Prayer video was aired, Pepsi cancelled the airing of the advertisement due to increasing amounts of protests towards the "offensive" music video.
BELOW IS THE LINK TO THE LIKE A PRAYER MUSIC VIDEO....
The banned music video, Justify My Love
With Madonna's first compilation album, The Immaculate Collection (which, may or may not be a clear significance to the "immaculate conception" of Christ) came two new songs, 'Rescue Me' and 'Justify My Love', which gained the most publicity of the two. The lyrics of Justify My Love shower obvious connotations of sex, lustfulness and pleasure, but the music video pushed the limits with explicit visuals that left nothing to the imagination. The video starts with Madonna walking through a hallway, with a look of anguish and a hunger for satisfaction. As her lover approaches her through the hall way, she is rubbing herself all over to what almost appears to look like masturbation. Madonna and her mysterious lover begin their sexual fling and the video goes through several different scenes of naked men and women, sexual bedroom encounters with sexy characters and silhouettes of people dressed in leather, chains and corsets. Madonna and her lover find there way onto a bed where things get very erotic. He takes off his shirt to reveal several crufixes around his naked. Then, he sits, bound and watches as Madonna makes out with another man wearing make-up. At another point, a woman appears with exposed breasts, suspenders and a hat and grabs the man and gropes him. Meanwhile, the camera flashes to yet another crucifix on the wall of the bedroom. Madonna's use and passion for sex and religion is made quite evident in her music and videos throughout her career.
The video was immediately and still to this day banned to air on both MTV and MuchMusic. The highly controversial and explicit video banning made headlines and was almost impossible to view at this time in the early 90s. The video did get played on a TV series that MuchMusic called Too Much 4 Much, which was meant for controversial videos and came on in the late evening. Later that year, after the banning of the video, Madonna released a "video-single" of the song on VHS-format. The video-single became a "best-selling" single and she made millions off of it.
BELOW IS THE JUSTIFY MY LOVE VIDEO (incase you want to see why it was banned)
Madonna's controversial, yet infamous book. Simply titled: 'Sex.'
Madonna's reputation for controversy sky-rocketed when this rare book was published, called 'Sex", a coffee table book full of erotic photographs, written by Madonna herself. With Madonna being the star of the book, it contains explicit adult content including full-frontal nudity, erotic sexual acts, and sadomasochism. The book was first published in 1992 to go along with her new album (with a similar looking cover) named, Erotica.
The book got a lot of negative feedback from fans and critics. They claimed that she had gone too far now. Although, it sold over 150,000 copies in the first day. The book eventually began to claim more recognition for positivity as feminists started to see it as a work of art for it's bold and outstanding nature and the impact it and Madonna, herself had had on culture and society.
The album, Erotica was also very explicit, along with the video for the title song, also banned, which consisted of similar acts to that of Justify My Love. The album came with a huge "Parental Advisory" sticker on the plastic, but like most of Madonna's work, was a success, with hit copies and millions of records sold worldwide. Madonna later, made a response to the negative criticism of her Sex book and Erotica album with the hit single/video, 'Human Nature' of her Bedtime Stories album. In the lyrics, Madonna says, "Oops, I didn't know I couldn't talk about sex..." and "I'm not sorry, It's human nature" as a way to express her shameless attitude towards her past sexually explicit endeavors. The Human Nature video ends by Madonna saying "I have no regrets... Absolutely no regrets!"; her way of revealing to the world that she is careless, shameless and regrets nothing she has done in the past.
About 20 years before this controversial performance, Madonna was dancing in front of crosses and kissing the feet of a black jesus, to Like a Prayer. In 2006, she performed "Live To Tell", while hanging from a large checkered cross with a crown of thorns around her skull. At the end of the performance church bells rang. Sound familiar? Christian leaders and religious groups were infuriated with what, again they considered blasphemous actions of the pop queen. "It is downright offensive. Madonna's use of Christian imagery is an abuse and it is dangerous.", said a man of the Evangelical Alliance.
But, will Madonna ever learn her lesson? She has continued to appal and offend religious groups the past couple decades and it does not seem to faze her. But are these performances meant to be offensive, or is this just creativity through music and performance of a woman from a strong Catholic upbringing? Many others have offended christianity, for example, Sinead O'Connor when after a performance ripped up a picture of the Pope. Madonna has given no explanations for her actions on this incident, but obviously she has a passion for spirituality and religious imagery; it is used often in much of her music, not to offend, but to send a message of her thoughts and beliefs.
“I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams.” - Madonna
BELOW IS THE LIVE TO TELL CRUCIFIX PERFORMANCE...
Like A Virgin To A Pope
While performing in Rome, in 2008, during Madonna's Sticky and Sweet tour she decided to dedicate her next performance, "Like A Virgin", to Pope Benedict XVI. Before the song begins Madonna says, "I dedicate this song to the pope, because I'm a child of God." An Italian newspaper called Madonna's words a "provocation". This created more publicity to add on to the past mock crucifixion and the Like A Prayer video. The vatican has yet to become a fan of Madonna. During Madonna's blonde ambition tour, in the early 90s, many of the Like A Prayer performances were considered "one of the most satanic show in the history of humanity" for the blatant use of religious imagery.
BELOW IS A PERFORMANCE OF LIKE A PRAYER DURING HER BLONDE AMBITION TOUR,,,