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“I can officially confirm I have completed the process of adopting twin sisters from Malawi and am overjoyed that they are now part of our family. I am deeply grateful to all those in Malawi who helped make this possible, and I ask the media please to respect our privacy during this transitional time. Thank you also to my friends, family and my very large team for all your support and Love!”
Madonna has adopted twin girls from Malawi.
The singer, who had previously denied she was visiting the country with a view to adopting more children, was given permission by the Malawian high court on Tuesday to adopt the four-year-olds Stella and Esther.
The twins are being adopted from the Home of Hope orphanage in Mchinji, near the western border with Zambia, where David Banda once lived.
You know you struck a cultural and political nerve when a week after a stirring and defiant speech at the historic Women’s March on Washington January 21, people are still talking, debating, and pissed off about it. Love it or hate it, Madonna’s speech was a rousing success.
As a gay man in my 40s, I have followed (sometimes rabidly) Madonna’s career since its immaculate conception. I’m not embarrassed to admit I once had my entire teenage bedroom plastered with floor-to-ceiling Madonna pictures and posters. There is no pre-Madonna era in my memories. Her songs have scored each decade of my life, and her provocative antics have joyfully titillated and shocked me.
I’m a fan of not just her music, not just her talent, but of the person. I love that she challenges unrighteous authority, takes risks in expressing views contrary to unjust social norms, and is unapologetically herself. She is a rebel in the best sense of the word.
Madonna being under fire for her language, her music, her videos, her imagery, her performances, you name it, really, is nothing new. This is a woman whose career has always ridden the precarious wave of both critique and praise. What is new, however, is how Madonna is now using her legendary status as an entertainment icon to boldly lead a newly founded rebellion against President Trump and his administration.
Madonna’s address at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., has moved well beyond that one triumphant moment. Her speech has now seeped into our cultural divide; it has become more than just the words she uttered. It has transcended just that one protest on that one Saturday in front of hundreds of thousands of protesters. It’s now become a global taking point, a direct reflection of two political schools of thought.
Because if there is one thing misogynistic men in power hate most — men who minimize and dehumanize women by summing up their entire worth based on their genitals and one’s ability to grab said genitals at will — is a woman who dares to stand up and speak out.
We need a mouthpiece strong enough to offend and inspire, uplift and challenge, and excite and energize a movement still in its infancy. Because of these very reasons, I’d like to assign Madonna a title, as homage to the late, great, never forgotten Princess Leia. A title that is not linked to her Queen of Pop or Material Girl monikers, but one that is more that reflective of the Madonna today: General Madonna, Voice of the Trump Resistance.
I realize she was not and is not the only voice at the protest worthy of assuming the title, but in the interest of this essay, it fits.
To the various dissenters, I offer the following defense on behalf of my new general. To former 1980s pop rival Cyndi Lauper, who took to the airwavess to critize Madonna, I say, girl, couldn’t you have discussed your issues diva to diva rather than through the media?
I mean, I get and agree that “clarity and humanity” is usually better than anger any day, as Cyndi put it. Thoughtful discussion is always a better way than screaming and yelling. Except, you know, in a budding movement meant to fire up the participants. In this instance a more measured and gentle approach would probably not have generated the attention Madonna’s f bomb-laden “rebellion of love” did. In this moment, at this rally, a rousing, angry speech, crass as it was, is totally acceptable.
Also, the last thing we need, Cyndi dear, is infighting. Now is the time for unity and support, for backing each other and bringing our forces together as one. Now is not the time for disagreements and backbiting in the press. Privately, sure. Hash it out singer to singer, but don’t give the opposition a sound bite in their attempt to burn our general at the stake. As America’s Popular President declared, we are “Stronger Together.”
To the radio station in Texas banning all Madonna music and calling her unpatriotic, I say, um, isn’t freedom of speech the very First Amendment of the Constitution? What can be more patriotic than speaking up when you disagree with where the county is headed?
Rejecting the president is something that right-wing voters championed every single moment of every single day in all eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. I know this very well because I had to endure my entire extended family rant and rave against Obama for eight years. Their constant anger was exhausting. I do find it odd how conservative opposition and speaking out against a president was an example of their patriotism and yet somehow Madonna doing the same is not. I find the lack of logic and self-awareness alarming.
Also, haven’t we been down this road before? The Dixie Chicks circa 2003, anyone? “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” right? If history is a guide, I for one am excited for a possible Madonna CD that addresses this moment, ends up racking up Grammys, and becomes a pop music mission statement a la the Chicks’ genre-busting song of defiance, “Not Ready to Make Nice.”
To Newt Gringrich, I will concede that I reluctantly agree that the “blowing up the White House” part of Madonna’s speech was probably not her best use of metaphor — you really shouldn’t ever openly say you want to murder the leader of the free world, even in jest. Taken out of context, it sounds horrible and dangerous. However, within the context of her entire statement, it isn’t as incendiary as conservatives are making it out to be. “Blowing up the White House” was meant to contrast an act of violence in a deadly uprising versus her true goal, which is the creation of a rebellion of love. Context here is key.
Also, the desire to arrest her and throw her in jail, which seems to be the answer for any woman with power who defies the Trump political machine, isn’t as threatening as it sounds. I mean, what could be more rebellious than going to jail for standing up to tyranny? Madonna in prison? Dare I say yes to this? If only because I would love to see how much stronger and more fierce she’d be post-jail. And the music to come from such an experience? I shudder in excitement.
And finally, to the ridiculous meme generators spreading like a disease around social media ridiculously showcasing various images of Madonna’s career with various crotch-grabbing — both hers and others — in a ridiculous attempt to justify Donald Trumps nefarious hot-mike pussy-grabbing remarks, I say, you’re ridiculous.
The two, Madonna’s crotch fondles versus Trump’s, aren’t even logically comparable. First of all, Madonna wasn’t and isn’t running for political office, nor is she our current sitting president. She’s an entertainer. Not an elected official that’s mean to represent all Americans, regardless if you support him or not.
Secondly, a key factor missing in these meme detractors’ desperate and lame attempt to justify crotch-grabbing in their president is the very notion of consent. Madonna’s genital groping was with consenting adults — people whom voluntarily and willingly welcomed her hands on their body. Trump’s remarks are boasts grossly highlighting his privilege as a rich white male, being able to ignore a woman’s basic right to her body by manhandling it at will. It is assault. Plain and simple. Assault is wrong.
As a fan of Madonna and of our democracy, watching the amazing coverage unfold of all the inspirational women’s marches throughout America (and the entire world), witnessing the throngs of peaceful protesters — let’s emphasize peaceful — gathering together as one felt like the most uplifting American thing I’ve been in years.
For the first time in months, if not years, my various social media feeds were a thing of joy. I thrilled at the millions of determined Americans standing up for a better tomorrow. I wept, I cheered, I celebrated.
To have Madonna sum up the efforts of millions of people the world over — men, women, children — in a rousing speech that is still is being addressed, nitpicked, and argued over today, a week later, keeps the experience alive.
She, as our newly dubbed General Madonna, leader of the Rebellion of Love, is the right leader at the right time for the right movement. So, if you missed the point of Madonna’s speech, if you didn’t understand why people gathered in support of women, minorities, civil liberties, LGBT equal rights, and more, that’s OK. Because, perhaps, this momentous march wasn’t for you. But it was for us.
Who’s That Girl may not be the most memorable movie of Madonna’s career, but its main titles are unforgettable.
The animated (in both senses of the term) intro directed by Ric Machin of Broadcast Arts offers not only a preamble to the narrative, but a lesson in how to make your main titles pop — even further than the film, in this case. Even filmmaker James Foley concedes that they are “maybe the best ‘scene’ in the movie” about a bleached blond manic pixie ex-con with a penchant for tutus (this is Madge circa 1987, remember) who joins forces with a lawyer (An American Werewolf in London’s Griffin Dunne) to prove her innocence. Co-written by Canadian Newsroom creator Ken Finkleman, of all people, this screwball comedy is only really noteworthy as a time capsule of the Queen of Pop’s True Blue years. But the credits? Those are a thing of art.
The entire opening sequence, set to Madonna’s catchy ’80s groove “Causing a Commotion,” animates the events leading up to Nikki Finn’s arrest, a swinging key at the end dissolving into the one in her jail cell. The freneticism and overall anarchy of the main character is captured by the equally chaotic artwork in which the colours don’t always fill in (if they are coloured at all) and the seams make the odd appearance. While the bobble-headed vixen at the center is clearly formed, everything around her seems to fall apart, much like it does in the film. Sketched in grease pencil, per cameraman Glen Claybrook, “This gave it a vibrant, sketchy feel, sort of like old xerography animation.” Director James Foley came up with the idea for an animated intro, Madonna wrote the song for it, and late Argentinian artist Daniel Melgarejo conceived the bobble-headed commotion-causing babe. “He did some sketches and just thought he caught the energy of Nikki Finn,” Foley says. “Love how his angular style matched the sonics of the song.”
A discussion with Who’s That Girl Animation Director RIC MACHIN. (more…)
“Hello. Are you still awake out there? Are you sure about that? Can you hear me? Are you ready to shake up up the world?
Welcome to the revolution of love. To the rebellion. To our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny. Where not just women are in danger but all marginalized people. Where people uniquely different might be considered a crime. It took us this darkness to wake us the fuck up.
It seems as though we had all slipped into a false sense of comfort. That justice would prevail and that good would win in the end. Well, good did not win this election but good will win in the end. So what today means is that we are far from the end. Today marks the beginning, the beginning of our story. The revolution starts here. The fight for the right to be free, to be who we are, to be equal. Let’s march together through this darkness and with each step. Know that we are not afraid. That we are not alone, that we will not back down. That there is power in our unity and that no opposing force stands a chance in the face of true solidarity.
And to our detractors that insist that this March will never add up to anything, fuck you. Fuck you. It is the beginning of much needed change. Change that will require sacrifice, people. Change that will require many of us to make different choices in our lives, but this is the hallmark of revolution. So my question to you today is are you ready? I said, are you ready? Say yes, we are ready. Say, yes we are ready. One more time: you’re ready.
Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of 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. We choose love. We choose love.”
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. (more…)