August 16th: Happy Birthday Controversy Queen, Madonna

Ranjit Rodricks
Madonna (Photo by PR Photos)
Madonna (Photo by PR Photos)

In the three decades since Madonna has reigned supreme as the undisputed Queen Of Pop, she has shocked us, titillated us, pushed the envelope on sexual expression, been banned by the Vatican for her apparent disrespect towards Catholicism and most recently – even flashed her butt and breasts at a live concert.

Yes! Madonna and controversy go hand-in-hand and today, on her Fifty-Fifth birthday, we celebrate by taking a look back at her videos which stirred up a hornet’s nest when they were originally released:

Justify My Love: This video was too steamy to show on prime time on MTV and was hence, screened only after midnight. It shows Madonna being ravished by model / porn star Tony Ward and also is probably her first video to show a model topless.

Like A Prayer: With lots of religious imagery and burning crosses, it’s no wonder Pope John Paul II spoke out against Madonna and urged his Catholic flock to boycott her.

Erotica: As the title of the song suggests, this is undoubtedly Madonna’s most erotic video. It shows a montage of shots from the shooting of her book SEX and there are quick glimpses of Madonna making out with Naomi Campbell, Vanilla Ice and even Isabella Rossellini. The fact that she plays a dominatrix in this video which features liberal S&M play, also caused the video to be banned by most TV stations across the world.

Papa Dont Preach: Few realised that when Madonna sang, “Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep. Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep. But I’ve made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby!” – she was not singing about keeping a boyfriend who her father disapproved of. She was actually singing about anti-abortion and about unwed mother’s keeping their baby.

Substitute For Love: When the queen of pop channels Diana, Princess of Wales, there’s bound to rumblings of controversy. This video has Madonna being hounded by the paparazzi on motorbikes while being driven in a black Mercedes. Except, instead of the car crashing in the end, Madonna is seen to have reached safely home and embraced by her baby daughter (played by her real daughter, Lourdes).