Madonna, the icon
When Madonna Louise Ciccone and son David Banda stepped foot on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards, the night seemed promising. They both arrived dressed in Ralph Lauren. She wore a black cady double-breasted tuxedo jacket, matching wool pants, a white cotton shirt and a cane, disguised as a pimp stick; her son wore a RL Boys tuxedo. She had grills on; her little David wanted to have them on also. The world went crazy! The Internet quickly spit out so many Madonna look-alike versions, every single one of us had an opinion about how she looked, or how she should have looked. We screamed, we made fun of her, people blocked others on Facebook, Twitter was spinning faster than a carrousel out of control. Darlings, nothing has changed. It is Madonna after all.
A few hours later, a freshly changed Madonna joined Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert and Queen Latifah for the live performance of “Same Love” during which 33 couples (gay and straight) got married right in front of us, on live television. That moment was bigger than any celebrity in attendance, bigger than any opinion of how Madonna looked. From the first annual AIDS Dance-A-Thon in 1989 in Los Angeles to the stage at the Grammys, it has been a long journey on a long red carpet, sometimes tainted with the blood of our brothers and sisters who lost their lives in the battle for gay equality. Madonna earned her right to be there. I wish Elizabeth Taylor were still alive to introduce the segment. Both she and Madonna started to fight for LGBT causes even before some of us started doing so. After the performance, social media became inundated with attacks on Madonna’s appearance and how she used the moment. In her defense, people started lecturing others about her efforts to gay causes. I don’t need lectures; I have loved Madonna since when it wasn’t even cool to like Madonna. I know her sincere support of gay causes goes back to a time when she wasn’t even famous. If you really know anything about her, the name Martin Burgoyne should sound familiar … if not, you have a lot of caching up to do.
I think perhaps what bothered most people about her look at the Grammys is that she looked vulnerable, like a real person. And I don’t mean to say the obvious, that she brought her son David to maybe apologize for the Instagram controversy with the N-word — since when does Madonna apologize? But let’s be real, for someone who is always so in control of her image, she allowed herself to appear somewhat old. Yes, I get it, she is oldER now and she appeared in public while still recovering from injuries, but even though her reason for being on that stage was what was important, she is still the same Madonna for me. But that “pimp stick” giving the illusion of a cane was just not a smart move; some images flash so fast on TV that the first impression is the one that stays.
The jokes thrown around on the net about her image and age could have also been reminders that we are also getting older, and some of us just don’t want to accept that. Not all of us are in the position to do and be whatever we want to be. And when we see a person like Madonna, who is not familiar with the word “limitations,” that bothers a lot of people. It is still a sexist world; I don’t see many comments about Paul McCartney still performing. So does Madonna still rule? Yes, of course … no matter what she wears, people will still talk about her. Do you see people criticizing Cyndi Lauper for ruining that Alexander McQueen look with those Jimmy Choo shoes? No. Yet, we won’t shut up about Madonna’s grills. Does she care? Of course not; she is Madonna. What’s next for her? Well, she is performing with Miley Cyrus on Miley’s “MTV Unplugged” We might have to prepare ourselves for a lot of tongue. Just saying…