We were blushing, didn’t know where to look.
So my best friend and I looked at each other, too ashamed to watch this frenzied woman with her cone bra corset on stage, lying on a huge bed, male dancers on each side touching her while she heavily moved her body up and down, faster and faster, wilder and wilder.
It was the summer of 1990. We were 15 year-old girls and saw our super idol live for the very first time. The pope announced to ban her “Blond Ambition” shows in Italy as they were too controversial. Controversy always followed her everywhere.
Today the performer of “Like A Virgin” and “queen of Pop” turns 60.
Happy birthday, Madonna!
She can’t sing, she’s provocative, a witch, a whore, desperate, too old, a demanding bitch with an ego too big to handle. Over the years she’s heard it all. Those who have followed her and her career would be more inclined to say she’s smart, inspiring, creative, talented, professional, strong, charismatic and engaged. She’s a powerhouse, a creator, an entertainer and a strong business woman who has tirelessly reinvented herself for decades.
Since her debut in the early 1980s she’s cleverly shifted styles, always ahead of trends in music, dance and fashion. She has influenced heaps of young women and artists and is a prominent source of inspiration to the gay culture. Madonna dares to be bolder, stronger, fearless and crucially, a ton less humble and apologetic. And exactly this, coupled with all the personas she has been, is why she has always fascinated me.
Everyone has an opinion of Madonna, either you are in the hater’s camp or in the loyal lover’s camp which is unthinkable to leave once you’ve joined this group. Meanwhile, one of the most photographed women of the planet is still standing whilst famous artists of her era, Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston, George Michael, are all gone.
Madonna is a survivor. And she has worked her butt off to be where she is right now: the highest-grossing female touring artist of all time.
I was that kind of girl with bedroom walls covered with Madonna posters. I was that kind of girl who endlessly played her records and still does, especially when I’m alone. But it isn’t only about the music. It never was. Once I start watching videos of her, I can’t stop. I lose track of time. It’s more than nostalgia. It’s admiration for a fearless woman, a true artist, who created shows like The Re-Invention – and Confessions Tour, where she blew me away with her style, creativeness, power and engagement.
She’s able to surprise constantly. Be it a new look, new sound or new project. Madonna has proven not to be a superficial chameleon, but a true artist who knows to sparkle that magic and if she must, to push the right buttons and break taboos, in particular on sexuality and religion.
On social media people comment that she needs to stop her career because she’s gettting too old. She must have had plastic surgery and too much botox as her face has changed almost unrecognizably in the past few years. She wears garters and exposes her royal cleavage. It’s vulgar, they say. She doesn’t age gracefully, they say.
An older woman isn’t allowed to show her strong female energy, her sexuality and her lust for life, is she? Mick Jagger is still rocking on stage and nobody seems bothered about his age. Nobody talks about his old looks. Because he’s a man. When it comes to Madonna both men and women have the biggest mouths in judging and slating her. Too old for the pop industry. Too old for wearing these girly outfits on stage.
Forget it Madonna. We have Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. You need to shut up now, your time is up.
I think it says more about the people who can’t bear to see a strong, older woman express herself, unafraid and unapologetic. They would rather see her leave and never return. Of course, there’s no accounting for taste and it might not beautiful what she does, wears or how she looks (the fillers, the botox), but to say she’s too old, come on. Why so much judgement? This woman is making her own rules.
If you have a dream, you’d better go for it and work hard to achieve it. Believe in yourself whatever the people say. That’s exactly what Madonna always has done. She kept her head high in the harsh music industry where a female pop artist must usually pack her bags when she’s getting on in years.
Madonna has always known what she wanted and kept control. She invented herself, no man or music producer did it for her. This explains where the misogyny stems from.
“In life there’s no real safety, except for self-belief,” a vulnerable Madonna said in her epic acceptance speech of the Billboard Woman of the Year 2016.
Hell, she’s right.
Happy Birthday, Queen of Reinvention!
Please, stick around and never stop making your own rules.
Madonna pictures: https://www.instagram.com/madonna_vault/