On January 19 1991, Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection video collection hit #1 on the Top Music Videos chart in the USA. The VHS video single for Justify My Love hit #2 on the same chart.
On January 4 1991, Madonna responded to a Rabbi’s accusation of anti-semitism for the song lyrics in the remix of Justify My Love, called The Beast Within.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, accused Madonna of insulting Jews by using this Bible reference:
“I know your tribulation and your poverty and the slander of those who say that they are Jews, but they are not, they are a synagogue of Satan.”
In a letter sent to Madonna’s manager, Freddy DeMann, Rabbi Cooper said the Wiesenthal Center was outraged and wanted the quotation withdrawn. “The imagery of ‘Jew as Devil’ has led to untold violence against the Jewish people and slander against Judaism over the course of the last 2,000 years,” the rabbi wrote.
He charged that the phrase could “contribute to those who seek to promote anti-Semitism” and said that neo-Nazi groups had used such imagery to promote racist ideology among youth.
Madonna responded with this statement:
“I certainly did not have any anti-Semitic intent when I included a passage from the Bible on my record. It was a commentary on evil in general. My message, if any, is pro-tolerance and anti-hate. The song is, after all, about love.”
Rabbi Cooper said he took Madonna at her word.
“She was direct to the issue, she responded quickly and we’re relieved that she did so,” the rabbi said.
How did you feel about The Beast Within the first time you heard it?
On December 11 1990, Madonna’s The Royal Box, a box-set which included The Immaculate Collection CD or cassette, VHS video, postcards and poster, was released.
Box sets seem to be a thing of the past. Do you think Madonna will ever release another box set as great or greater than The Royal Box?
Do you wish Madonna had released more box sets when they were actually popular and sold well?
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 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?
On November 6 1990, Madonna’s “Justify My Love” single was released as the first single from “The Immaculate Collection“, Madonna’s first greatest hits collection.
In the United States, “Justify My Love” peaked at number one for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It also topped the Billboard Top 40 Tracks and Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts.