On December 7 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love was released as the first-ever video single, priced at $9.98.
The music video was considered too sexually explicit for MTV and was banned from the network. Madonna responded to the banning: “Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?”
On December 3, 1990, ABC’s Nightline played the video in its entirety, then interviewed Madonna live about the video’s sexual content and censorship. When asked whether she stood to make more money selling the video than airing it on MTV, she appeared impatient and answered, “Yeah, so? Lucky me.” She also expressed during the interview that she did not understand why the video was banned, while videos containing violence and degradation to women continued to receive regular airplay. The video was then released on VHS, and became a bestselling “video single” of all time.
Do you still have your VHS copy of Justify My Love?
On November 8 1992, Madonna’s “Sex” book hit #1 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list.
Here are some of the other books that made the chart that week:
On October 2 1992, Madonna’s “Erotica” video premiered on MTV.
The “Erotica” video was directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron, and featured a masked Madonna in a dominatrix costume. It also featured celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini and Big Daddy Kane. The video was highly controversial, being aired by MTV a total of three times, before becoming Madonna’s second video to be banned, after “Justify My Love” in 1990.
MTV spokeswoman Linda Alexander said, “The themes of the video are clearly aimed at a more adult audience. It is not appropriate for a general viewing audience”.
The footage of Madonna lip-synching the song in her S&M dominatrix costume was filmed on August 22, 1992 at The Kitchen in New York City, while the rest of the footage for the video was shot during the photo sessions for Madonna’s “Sex” book.
In order to imitate the look of old home-made movies, the entire video was shot with Super 8 film.