Today In Madonna History: March 28, 2001

On March 28, 2001, Madonna began filming the BMW commercial Star in Los Angeles, California, co-starring Clive Owen and directed by Guy Ritchie.  Star was part of a series of short films (called The Hire) produced to promote BMW.

“I’m gracing this armpit of a town for one night, if you think I’m gonna know the name of the venue in El Arm-Pitto… You’re Sadly Mistaken” – Madonna’s character in Star

Today in Madonna History: March 27, 1993

On March 27 1993, Bad Girl peaked at #20 on the Canadian Top 100 Singles chart (RPM).

Although the single fared better in Canada than it did south of the border (it peaked at #36 on the Hot 100), Bad Girl nevertheless earned the undesirable distinction of being Madonna’s lowest charting Canadian single since Borderline at the time, which had peaked at #25 in September, 1984.

Today in Madonna History: March 26, 2009

On March 26 2009, Madonna’s I Am Because We Are documentary premiered online via YouTube and Hulu. The documentary was directed by Nathan Rissman and narrated by Madonna.

According to the press release:

I Am Because We Are depicts a journey in the second poorest country in the world, Malawi. In a country of 12 million people, so many children without parents has caused irreparable damage. The film attempts to explore what is going on in the heads and hearts of these orphans, and what the future holds for them. Suffering from AIDS, infections and malnutrition, most of the children in Malawi are in need for food, medical care, but also for proper education and guidance. More than just a story about Malawi, I Am Because We Are provides the audience with keys to help changing the situation but also spreads hope for a better world.

Today in Madonna History: March 24, 2005

On March 24 2005, Madonna completed a photoshoot at Farley’s Prop House in London with photographer Lorenzo Agius. The photos later appeared in Ladies Home Journal.

According to Agius, the concept of the shoot was “to see the subject steeped in the mystery and magic of an old world library where one can get lost in the discovery of knowledge.”

Today in Madonna History: March 22, 2017

On March 22 2017, The Huffington Post published an article titled, “Why Madonna’s Like A Prayer Is The Most Important Album Ever Made By A Female Artist.”

Here are some of the highlights from the article:

28 years ago this week, Madonna released what is not only her best album to date, but also what could be the most important release ever by a female artist. That’s not to say that Like a Prayer is the best album ever by a female artist, but it’s pretty close. After six years of being considered pop fluff and a disco dolly, Madonna was finally taken seriously by most music critics in 1989. Still, Like a Prayer deserved even more than bewildering critical acclaim.

If Madonna and misogyny weren’t practically synonyms, Like a Prayer would have not only won several Grammys in 1990 (it didn’t even earn any major nominations), but it would be widely praised for its songwriting and production 28 years later. If a man delivered the same type of vocals Madonna did on Like a Prayer, critics would note that his voice isn’t technically perfect, but distinct, melodic, and full of emotion. When it comes to Madonna, who certainly could never hit the notes of Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston, it’s just easier for people to say that she “can’t sing.”

For people (especially millennials) to understand how important Like a Prayer is to culture and music, they have to comprehend the repressive environment Madonna’s album arrived to in March of 1989. The late 1980s was ruled by the religious right, who believed AIDS was a curse God gave to the gay community. Women who were outspoken or wore revealing clothes were referred to as sluts, whores, bitches, etc. Police brutality among African Americans was still widely accepted without much of a backlash. And interracial dating was still considered a taboo.

The pamphlet on AIDS Madonna included with each copy of Like a Prayer alone proves that the notion of Madonna being a bad role model and having a bad influence on Generation X (especially women and teenagers) just isn’t true. Madonna educated many about AIDS and safe sex at a time when schools, the media, and religious institutions stayed away from the topic. A move like this in 1989 could have hurt a showbiz career, but Madonna survived and thrived by doing the right thing and, possibly, helping to save lives at the same time.