Madonna's most shocking video moments
Madonna, CP Images
When it comes to controversy, nobody does it better than Madonna. In honour of her new double-disc greatest hits collection, "Celebration," out Sept. 29, we're taking a look at her most shocking video moments.
1. Like a Prayer
Burning crosses, stigmata and Madonna making love to a black Jesus: the "Like a Prayer" video hit all the religious hot buttons on its way to winning an MTV Viewer's Choice Award and launching Madonna into the annals of history as a music video maven. The controversy that erupted over the clip's lurid depiction of faith and interracial relations led Pepsi to pull out of their $5 million endorsement deal with the material girl. Seventeen years later, MTV crowned it the Most Groundbreaking Music Video of All Time.
2. Justify My Love
Featuring grainy black and white footage made to look like experimental European films of the 1960s, the video for this Lenny Kravitz-penned tune shocked and confused in equal doses. Set in an elegant hotel -- which apparently was in the midst of hosting an alternative lifestyle and interpretive dance convention -- it depicts a tired looking Madonna wandering the halls before hosting a rather unorthodox orgy with several scantily clad androgynous participants. Both MTV and MuchMusic banned the video due to sexual content, with the latter creating the chat show Too Much 4 Much as a result. As always, Madonna would get the last laugh as a VHS "video single" released later that year would become a bestseller.
Coinciding with the release of her Sex table book - which showcased the blonde singer in various stages of nudity, as well as modeling in S&M bondage gear - the video for the first single off the album of the same name was tailor-made to cause outrage. Directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron, the black and white clip featured a lip-synching Madonna as a masked dominatrix interspersed with segments from the making of Sex. Naturally, the video was banned from MTV.
4. American Life
Reuniting with "Ray of Light" director Jonas Åkerlund, Madonna used the vapidity of high-end fashion shows as a metaphor for American greed and the upper-class' disconnect with the horrific acts of violence done in their name. Released around the height of the second Iraq war, it was a strong political statement by the outspoken pop queen. However, when she witnessed the backlash afforded to anti-war bands like Dixie Chicks, Madge decided to pull the video herself "out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces," choosing instead to release a performance only edited version featuring the singer in front of an array of flags. Unfortunately, while the controversial images were taken out, the song's stomach churning rap remained.
5. What It Feels Like For a Girl
Directed by then-husband Guy Richie, the video for the third single off Madonna's eighth studio album was quickly banned from MTV by virtue of its rather profane vehicular carnage. Made under the guise of a pro-feminist message, the clip depicts Madge as an abused car thief who, after picking up an elderly woman, proceeds to go a rampage that includes (but is not limited to) ramming a car full of men, assaulting police officers and blowing up a gas station before committing suicide. If only the remake of Swept Away could have been so eventful.
Want to relive all of Madonna's most shocking moments? Well, we've got a great Material Girl prize pack to give away! It includes: a special edition Double DVD featuring 47 videos with fully re-mastered audio/video, "Ciao Italia" live DVD, "Girlie Show Down Under" DVD and Madonna's full discography of all 11 studio albums. (Approximate value $319, open to Canadian residents only, except for Quebec). For your chance to win, follow us on Twitter. We'll be announcing the giveaway there tomorrow, Friday Sept. 4.