Today in Madonna History: January 19, 2017

On January 19 2017, Madonna participated in a discussion about feminism with Elizabeth Alexander, Marilyn Minter and the director of the Brooklyn Museum (where the discussion was held), Anne Pasternak, in New York City.

Here’s how the New York Times reported on the discussion:

At the talk Thursday night — which was introduced by Anne Pasternak, the director of the Brooklyn Museum, and moderated by the poet and essayist Elizabeth Alexander — one of the most interesting discussions surrounded the topic of sexuality and aging.

Ms. Minter — who collaborated with Madonna on a video piece for the singer’s 2008 “Sticky and Sweet Tour” — said that it is considered acceptable for women artists to talk about their sexuality as they get older, so long as they make themselves the brunt of a joke, like “Phyllis Diller.”

Madonna replied that she has no interest in approaching it this way. “I want to take it very seriously,” she said, wearing a biker cap and a black T-shirt reading “Feminist.”

Both Madonna and Ms. Minter frequently cited the virtue of resilience, saying it had been central to their successes.

For example, Ms. Minter said, it was often the “white heat” and praise that got her into trouble as an artist and made her complacent about pushing forward.

Madonna said, “I think what’s been key to my survival, strangely enough, is the constant rejection and criticism.”

Even so, she said that if she had learned one thing from the election, it was that women needed to get better at supporting each other. She noted the robust support for Mr. Trump by white women and the fact that the sharpest criticism she’s faced over the years has been from other women.

“And I find that astounding,” Madonna said. “Men naturally bond together and support each other.”

Ms. Minter agreed: “I’ve seen that too. They work as a team until they get to the top. Then they try to kill each other!”

Unsurprisingly, both Madonna and Ms. Minter were headed south to take part in the Women’s March on Washington.

How were they getting there, Ms. Pasternak asked.

“I’m taking the bus,” said Madonna.

“Me too,” said Ms. Minter.

 

Today in Madonna History: January 18, 1999

On January 18 1999, Madonna appeared on the cover of People magazine with the headline, “The New Pop Divas.”

The new pop divas.  By that definition, say hello to the latest wave of pop divas: Celine Dion, 30; Whitney Houston, 35; Mariah Carey, 29; Madonna, the old-timer at 40; Janet Jackson, 32; Shania Twain, 33; and Jewel, 24—with divas-in-waiting Brandy, 19; Monica, 18; and LeAnn Rimes, 16, warbling in the wings. All certainly have the requisite lung power. Houston, whose Top 20 album My Love Is Your Love marks her first studio release in eight years, can rattle roof beams, Carey skips octaves with the ease of a kindergartner at jump rope, and Dion (who, like Carey and Twain, sang with Franklin on VH1) belts out “My Heart Will Go On,” the Oscar-winning Titanic theme, with chest-thumping majesty. And, with all due R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Aretha and company, these superdivas are richer and wield more power. True, some of their pre-MTV forebears dabbled in movies, but were they also best-selling authors a la Jewel? Did they, like Madonna, run their own record labels? Even divette Brandy has her own TV show.

Today in Madonna History: January 17, 1996

On January 17 1996, Madonna accepted David Bowie’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction on his behalf.

During her speech, Madonna described how as a “normal, dysfunctional, rebellious teenager from the Midwest,” a David Bowie concert in June 1974 at Cobo Arena in Detroit changed her life for good:

“I don’t think that I breathed for two hours. It was the most amazing show that I’d ever seen, not just because the music was great, but because it was great theater. Here’s this beautiful, androgynous man, just being so perverse … as David Byrne so beautifully put it … so unconventional, defying logic and basically blowing my mind. Anyway, I came home a changed woman, as you can see, and my father was not sleeping and he knew exactly where I went, and he grounded me for the rest of the summer. But it was worth every minute that I sat and suffered in my house that summer.”

 

Today in Madonna History: January 15, 2012

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On January 15 2012, Madonna and co-writers Julie Frost and Jimmy Harry won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for Masterpiece (from the film W.E.) at the Golden Globe Awards.

Today in Madonna History: January 14, 1984

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On January 14 1984, Madonna made her North American network television debut, performing Holiday on ABC-TV’s American Bandstand – hosted by Dick Clark.

Dick Clark asked Madonna, “What do you hope will happen, not only in 1984 but for the rest of your professional life? What are your dreams? What’s left?”

Madonna answered simply, “To rule the world.”

Today in Madonna History: January 12, 2012

On January 12 2012, Madonna’s Celebration album artwork was featured on the cover of One Small Seed magazine. The purpose of the cover was to feature Mr. Brainwash’s art, and the issue included an article titled, “Mr. Brainwash: Laughing All The Way To The Banksy.”

Here’s a snippet of the article:

Mr Brainwash creates satirical twists on classic pieces, including some of Banksy’s ‘own’ stuff, and his lavish exhibitions routinely draw crowds of aficionados, detractors and the curious. Mr Brainwash is dedicated to spreading a message that is positive, colourful and – like Andy Warhol’s – accessible. Jean-Michel Basquiat said, ‘I start a picture and I finish it. I don’t think about art while I work. I try to think about life.’

Today in Madonna History: January 11, 2016

On January 11 2016, Madonna posted this message regarding David Bowie’s death on her social media channels:

I’m devastated. David Bowie changed the course of my life forever. I never felt like I fit in growing up in Michigan. Like an oddball or a freak. I went to see him in concert at Cobo Arena in Detroit. It was the first concert I’d ever been too. I snuck out of the house with my girlfriend wearing a cape. We got caught after and I was grounded for the summer. I didn’t care. I already had many of his records and was so inspired by the way he played with gender confusion. Was both masculine and feminine. Funny and serious. Clever and wise. His lyrics were witty ironic and mysterious. At the time he was the Thin White Duke and he had mime artists on stage with him and very specific choreography. And I saw how he created a persona and used different art forms within the arena of Rock and Roll to create entertainment. I found him so inspiring and innovative. Unique and provocative. A real genius. His music was always inspiring but seeing him live set me off on a journey that for me I hope will never end. His photographs are hanging all over my house today. He was so chic and beautiful and elegant. So ahead of his time. Thank you David Bowie. I owe you a lot. The world will miss you. Love M.”

David Bowie died of liver cancer at the age of 69 in New York on January 10, 2016.

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