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.
On October 21 1993, Madonna performed The Girlie Show for a sold-out crowd of 15,000 fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
On October 1 2015, Madonna shared a behind-the-scenes photo of her “quick-change” costume station in Detroit, during The Rebel Heart Tour.
Madonna’s caption for the photo:
“Quick Change in the Motor City! ………….Get Ready Detroit!”
Madonna performed for a sold-out crowd of 12,852 fans at the Joe Louis Arena.
On June 3 2014, Madonna visited Detroit yesterday in an effort to participate in the rebuilding of the city and to connect with her hometown. During her visit, she spent time at the Detroit Achievement Academy – a public charter primary school, Ponyride – a social impact incubator, the Heidelberg Project, the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym and the Dime Music School.
Here’s what Madonna had to say about the experience:
“Many people doubt that Detroit can come back and think that the challenges are too overwhelming to overcome. But what I witnessed today is the true story of Detroit – a city of innovation, commitment, perseverance, imagination and opportunity. The entrepreneurs, artists, activists, teachers and children I met today left me incredibly inspired. I appreciated every minute of it and look forward to helping make the future of Detroit brighter.”
On February 28 2017, Bay City (Michigan) City Commissioner Christopher Gerard explained to WNEM.com why the signs welcoming visitors into Bay City still do not mention it being the birthplace of Madonna:
“We couldn’t get some commitments from Madonna’s folks and Madonna is a polarizing issue in town surprisingly enough.”
In 2014 the city agreed to update the signs to mention Bay City as Madonna’s birthplace, to both honor Madonna and create more tourism in the city.
Gerard said the city is committed to updating the signs if there is enough interest from the community.
This is a photo of one of the former homes of Madonna’s grandparents in Bay City:
Bay City — make the signs! Every Madonna fan will want their photo taken with the signs. We guarantee you will see a spike in tourism! And Madonna was only kidding when she called you a “smelly little town” — she’s a clown at heart! — Jay
On August 2 2008, Madonna and Nathan Rissman introduced their film, I Am Because We Are at the Traverse City Film Festival in Traverse City, Michigan.
The film was directed by Nathan Rissman, produced by Madonna and Angela Becker, written by Madonna, narrated by Madonna with music by Patrick Leonard.
The 86-minute film focuses on the effects of AIDS on orphaned children living in Malawi.
The event was co-founded by filmmaker, author and fellow Michigan native Michael Moore. Moore told the audience that he was humbled to be able to call Madonna a friend:
“She has such an incredible heart and such a generous spirit, she does so much out of the glare of the lights to make the world a better place.”
Madonna was happy to present her film in her home state:
“It’s great bringing my movie to a place that I feel familiar. Not like the Cannes Film Festival, where nobody’s speaking English, or the Tribeca Film Festival, where no one sits down. There’s something poetic about coming back to the place where I used to come for holidays – camping trips with my dad and stepmother and my very large family.”