20 jan 2023

Madonna’s 5 most memorable scandals

The tireless Madonna, 64, has announced a new international tour, The Celebration Tour. She will be performing at the Accor Arena in Paris on November 12th and 13th, 2023. Her performances are expected to be provocative, just like her entire career. Throwback to 5 of the star’s most famous scandals.

After releasing a compilation of her best remixes last year, Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones, as well as many wacky videos on TikTok, Madonna is still making waves. Last Tuesday, January 17th, the tireless icon has announced her international tour, The Celebration Tour, with a funny, star-studded video. Diplo, Judd Apatow, Jack Black, Lil Wayne, Eric Andre, and Amy Schumer, gather in a video staged like her cult documentary In Bed with Madonna. They are all inviting the singer to embark on a tour to perform four decades of her timeless hits.


Produced by Live Nation, the Celebration Tour will kick off on July 15th in the US before making a stop in Europe. The diva will be seen (and heard) at the Accor Arena in Paris on November 12th and 13th, 2023. These shows are expected to be full of scandalous, sexual, and blasphemous moments, and perhaps also of XXL delays, as the star already arrived three hours after the scheduled start of a Parisian show in 2020. For this occasion, Numéro takes a look back at the greatest outbursts and provocations of the one who paved the way for Rihanna, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Anitta, and Cardi B.


1. Madonna in a wedding dress: a not so virginal Like a Virgin

In 1984, Madonna became responsible for awakening the lust of many teenagers at the time. For her very first MTV Video Music Awards ceremony, the 26-year-old sang her hit Like a Virgin, but her performance wasn’t quite innocent as the title would suggest. Dressed as a bride and wearing a belt with the words “boy toy” on it, she jumped out of a giant cake before swaying her hips in a lascivious way. Do you want to know the climax of her highly erotic and so- called improvised performance? When Louise Ciccone, aka Madonna, decided to roll around on the floor and revealed her underwear. A position mimicking masturbation that allowed the powerful singer to make a statement: the victorious sex appeal is not just for men like Elvis Presley, George Michael, Michael Jackson, or Prince.


2. Madonna wearing Jean Paul Gaultier: (i)conical underwear

Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic and conical corsets were not the only ones to make an impression. Other stories of Madonna’s underwear have also set the stage on fire. In 1987, Jacques Chirac, then mayor of theFrench capital and a huge fan of the singer of Holiday (1983), attended Madonna’s concert at the Parc de Sceaux near Paris. Yet, the latter knew that the future French president had a crush on her. Therefore, she decided to throw her fishnet panties into the audience, right in his direction. The artist perfectly aimed her target and Jacques Chirac ended up with the present in his lap. Shortly afterwards, the story continued when Madonna went to the Paris City Hall to deliver a 500,000 francs check to the Line association, chaired by Line Renaud. Jacques Chirac tenderly embraced her, and the sequence made both the tabloids and the fans fantasize about a relationship between the two personalities, like Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy.


3. Madonna’s sins: her staging deemed to be blasphemous

In the music video for Like a Prayer (1989), the singer, who grew up in Michigan in a Catholic family of Italian origin, wore a not so traditional dress with straps that caused a huge controversy. She combined effervescent sensuality with numerous religious symbols – a church, a gospel choir, a cross, and some candles. Some viewed her aesthetic mix as blasphemous, especially since Madonna appeared caressing a black Christ and danced in front of burning crosses reminiscent of the tragedies perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan. The V atican and several religious associations expressed their anger at Madonna’s unrestrained audacity. Yet, it has never quieted the woman who proudly bears the name of the mother of Jesus. Later, during her Confessions tour in 2006, the star appeared crucified on stage wearing a crown of thorns, long before Kendrick Lamar wore his Tiffany & Co. crown. Madonna, who dreamed of becoming a nun as a child, also featured dancers dressed as nuns and poles in the shape of crosses during the Rebel Heart Tour (2015-1016). Once a rebel, always a rebel.

4. Madonna seen through Jean- Baptiste Mondino’s lens: an aesthetically pleasing collection of fantasies

In the sublime 1990 music video for Justify My Love censored by MTV and directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, a close collaborator of Numéro, Madonna indulges in several fantasies in a glossy black and white aesthetics. SM practices, flirtation with different partners, sexplicit references to prostitution… Nothing seems forbidden in this collection of erotic scenes captured in the privacy of a hotel room at the Royal Monceau in Paris. To add further scandal to the legendary video, the rumor that the lines between role-playing and reality were rather thin spread in no time. In the video, Madonna kisses actor and model Tony Ward, her boyfriend at the time – the chemistry is electric.


5. Sex by Madonna, a sultry and avant-garde book

In 1992, Madonna decided to get to the bottom of her fantasies and ambitions and published a book of photographs taken by Steven Meisel. Entitled Sex, the book accompanied her album Erotica. It was a pioneering work that heralded the porno- chic trend and paved the way for daring visual projects such as Beyoncé’s Lemonade (2016). Among queer scenes, SM practices, and orgies, Madonna brought to life what would remain mere concepts for most mortals, while fighting against prejudices and narrow perceptions. Surrounded by Naomi Campbell, actress Isabella Rossellini, rapper Vanilla Ice, and porn star Joey Stefano, she went to great lengths to offer erotic shots, to the point of scaring off her record company, Warner. The “blasphemous” shots were the issue, such as the one in which Madonna is tied down to a table in the shape of a cross. Released in a limited edition, the book is now available online at a premium… but it is worth the investment.


Finally Enough Love (2022) by Madonna, available. Madonna will be performing at the Accor Arena in Paris on November 12th and 13th, 2023. Tickets for the Celebration Tour on sale on Madonna.com and Livenation.fr at 10am on Friday, January 20th.