On August 28 2003, Madonna performed “Hollywood” with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera as the opening number for the 20th annual MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY and upstaged everyone at the ceremony when she shares a passionate open-mouth kiss with them. Missy Elliott also joined the ladies on stage – post-kiss.
Madonna commented on the uproar surrounding the infamous kiss during an appearance on Oprah several weeks later. “I don’t know why people are making such a big deal about it,” she said. “Hasn’t anyone seen two girls kiss before? It was a friendly kiss – it really was. If Britney looks as though she is kissing me in an aggressive way it was a surprise to me.” She added, “I’m a showgirl. After 20 years in the business, we learn to roll with the punches. If someone’s coming at you with lips slightly parted, you kiss them.”
On July 14, 2003, “Hollywood” was released as the second single from the “American Life” album. The song was written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï.
On June 2, 2003, Madonna began filming the “Hollywood” music video in Los Angeles, California. The music video was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and portrays Madonna highlighting the highs and lows of Hollywood.
Mondino comments on the concept of the video:
“Some kind of artifice that Hollywood can provide, that is so wide and has a graphic story-line about it as well as some humour about it, and to show the beauty, the scariness, the sexiness and the loneliness that one’s success can be, ’cause everybody’s dreaming about Hollywood, no matter what. The expectation can be very dangerous, and maybe for somebody like Madonna, who might be at a point, to realize that to be on the top is maybe not that important. That’s what I feel about the video.”