On November 27 1990, the MTV network announced it had banned Madonna’s Justify My Love video due to extremely strong displays of sexuality.
“We respect her work as an artist and think she makes great videos,” said MTV executives in a statement about the clip. “This one is not for us.”
“When I did my Vogue video…I’m wearing a see-through dress and you can clearly see my breasts,” Madonna told ABC’s Nightline in 1990. “MTV told me that they wanted me to take that out, but I said I wouldn’t and they played it anyways. So I thought that once again I was going to be able to bend the rules a little bit.”
On October 30 1992, the public libraries in Mesa, Arizona, cancelled their orders for Madonna’s Sex book after local residents protested its purchase.
Here’s a snippet from Vicki Goldberg’s New York Times article on the book:
Madonna’s new book, as even your butcher knows by now, is simply, classically titled Sex. It comes sealed in a Mylar bag (much as condoms do) with a label reading “Warning! Adults Only!” and a price tag of $49.95. Reportedly she does not want it open in bookstores, but HMV Records at Lexington and 86th Street will let anyone who gives a donation to Lifebeat AIDS see one page, for one minute, in a mock confession booth.
Warner Books, a Time Warner company, is the publisher (Ice-T must not have been enough trouble for one year). A million copies went on sale in five countries and five languages on Wednesday, attended by a good deal of deliberately decadent hoopla. The profit on the first printing could reach $26 million. Any questions?
On October 26 1992, Madonna’s SEX book was banned in Japan due to its controversial photos which violated the country’s censorship laws.
Here is Madonna’s perspective on pornography:
I don’t see how a guy looking at a naked girl in a magazine is degrading to women. Everyone has their sexuality. It’s how you treat people in everyday life that counts, not what turns you on in your fantasy. If all a person ever did was get off on porno movies I would say they are probably dysfunctional sexually, but I don’t think it’s unhealthy to be interested in that or get off on that. I’m not interested in porno movies because everybody is ugly and faking it and it’s just silly. They make me laugh, they don’t turn me on. A movie like In the Realm of the Senses turns me on because it’s real. I’ve been told there are some good Traci Lords movies but I’ve never seen them. I wouldn’t want to watch a snuff movie. I wouldn’t want to watch anyone get really hurt, male or female. But generally I don’t think pornography degrades women. The women who are doing it want to do it. No one is holding a gun to their head. I don’t get that whole thing. I love looking at Playboy magazine because women look great naked.
On June 28 1986, Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach single debuted at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA. Eight weeks later it would reach #1 on the same chart.
Shortly after its release, the song caused heated discussions about its lyrical content. Women’s organizations and others in the family planning field criticized Madonna for encouraging teenage pregnancy, while groups opposed to abortion saw it as a positive pro-life message.
In July 1986, shortly after the release of the video for Papa Don’t Preach, Madonna commented on the controversy surrounding the song, to music critic Stephen Holden from The New York Times:
“Papa Don’t Preach is a message song that everyone is going to take the wrong way. Immediately they’re going to say I am advising every young girl to go out and get pregnant. When I first heard the song, I thought it was silly. But then I thought, wait a minute, this song is really about a girl who is making a decision in her life. She has a very close relationship with her father and wants to maintain that closeness. To me it’s a celebration of life. It says, ‘I love you, father, and I love this man and this child that is growing inside me’. Of course, who knows how it will end? But at least it starts off positive.”
On June 1 1990, Madonna was controversially featured grabbing her crotch and breast on the cover of Interview magazine.
Madonna was interviewed by Glenn O’Brien at the Disney Studios, where she was rehearsing the Blond Ambition Tour. Here’s a snippet from the interview:
Glenn: Let’s talk about your show.
Madonna: Let’s not. Today was a horrible day. That was the worst rehearsal.
Glenn: Well, I liked it, but I haven’t seen it when you thought it was good. I loved the number where you’re lying on the piano singing a torch song.
Madonna: You saw only one segment of the show. I’ve created five different worlds, and the set is all based on hydraulics. One is going down and another is coming up. The world changes completely. I think of it more as a musical than as a rock concert. There is a straightforward Metropolis section, like my Express Yourself video – that set with all the gears and machinery; it’s very hard and metallic. That’s the heavy-duty dance music. Then the set changes and it’s like a church. We call it the temple ruins. It’s all these columns, trays of votive candles, a cross. I do Like a Virgin on a bed, but we changed the arrangement, so it sounds Indian. Then I’m being punished for masturbation on this bed, which is, as you know, what happens. Then we do the more serious, religious-type material – Like a Prayer, Papa Don’t Preach… Then it changes to what you saw, this Art Deco ’50s-musical set. That’s when we do three songs from Dick Tracy, and then after that we do what I call the camp section. Then it gets really serious again and we go into our Clockwork Orange cabaret set.