Well, it’s the morning after the VMAs and everyone’s mad at Madonna, proving the old gal’s still got it, we suppose.
First, there’s the elephant in the room, aka her style choices:
In true Madonna style, she took something culturally important – from a culture she doesn’t belong to – and appropriated it for herself. In this case she’s feeling a bit of that Berber realness after having spent her 60th birthday in Marrakech. That’s what she does. She sees something and decides it’s hers the next day. She’s the ultimate tourist. She buys a house in England and suddenly starts talking like Princess Diana; she catches some Latinx queens vogueing and decides it’s her next big hit. From slapping grills on her teeth to Marilyn drag to fetish queen, Madonna absorbs everything she comes into contact with and then takes it on for herself. It’d be one thing if she were an artist being inspired and broadened by exposure to new things from distinct cultures, but she literally just appropriates them like cute outfits or the latest dance craze.
Having said that, we’d be happy to see her taking inspiration from North African cultures as a way of expanding her style. We’re not mad to see her in something new (for her); something that isn’t trying to reclaim her past or position her as something she’s not in the current culture. We still want a Madonna who expresses herself; who shocks and surprises and changes unexpectedly. Just not in such a literal, appropriative sort of way. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to know any other way to do it.
In other news, everyone’s also talking about her because for some goddamn stupid reason, she was chosen to give the tribute to Aretha Franklin, a woman who was not her contemporary; who didn’t sing in the same style as her, and who never worked with her and wasn’t close to her. In typical Madonna style, she made the tribute almost entirely about herself, angering just about everyone. Granted, we wouldn’t expect the VMAs to be the best place or the best people to mount an Aretha tribute, since MTV was only a very small part of her career, but how hard could it be to grab almost any female R&B singer from the last 30 years to do the damn job? Why give it to Miss It’s-Always-About-Me?
[Photo Credit: INSTARImages]