Today in Madonna History: December 7, 1990

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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?

Today in Madonna History: November 9, 1990

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On November 9 1990, Madonna began filming the “Justify My Love” video at the Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris, France, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

During a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) segment in September 2013, Madonna told her fans that she considers “Justify My Love” to be her favourite Madonna music video.

Is “Justify My Love” the steamiest music video that you’ve ever seen?

Today in Madonna History: October 26, 1993

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On October 26 1993, Madonna performed at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium, Bayamon, Puerto Rico and caused a stir when she wiped a Puerto Rican flag on her crotch in front of 26,000 fans.  The Puerto Rican House of Representatives charged Madonna with desecration of the flag and passed a resolution to condemn her.

The following (poor quality) video shows Madonna wiping her crotch with the flag:

There are no good photos of the event, so we decided to celebrate with some awesome photos of “Deeper and Deeper” from “The Girlie Show”.

Today in Madonna History: October 22, 1990

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On October 22 1990, Madonna was featured in a public service announcement on MTV’s “Rock The Vote” in which she was wrapped in the US flag and urged young people to register and vote; the ad caused a controversy with US Veterans of Foreign Wars who were enraged by Madonna’s provocative use of the American flag and said that it bordered on desecration.

Today in Madonna History: October 15, 1992

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On October 15 1992, Madonna threw a “Sex” book pre-release party at New York City’s Industria Superstudio, and signed all the invitations under her alter ego”Dita”.

During the party, Madonna showed up dressed as Little Bo Peep and carried with her a stuffed toy lamb. 

Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg showed concern at first worrying “what the parents of America’s impressionable teens will soon be thinking” but later said that it “all depends on your idea of lovemaking, which in Madonna’s case, should give new meaning to the word erotic.”

Both Waldenbooks and Barnes & Noble prepared corporate statements that their store managers could share with customers who were offended by “Sex. Both statements defended the right of bookstores to provide “diversity and choice” to customers and say censorship is not the role of bookstores.

Bookstore owner David Epstein stated that “The feeling of most people who have ordered the book is that Madonna is something special, that this is cutting-edge art, they’re not the kind of people who are buying it because it’s smut and dirty pictures. People are interested in it as art.”

Today in Madonna History: October 2, 1992

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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.