Yesterday Dorrith and Marlous reported on their Vogue dance class with Slam and José. But their adventure didn't stop there...
Strike a Pose
The same Sunday afternoon I heard there was space for me and my sister to join the dance classes, Gertjan from the Dutch Madonna fan club confirmed that I was also able to join him to the premiere of Strike a Pose. Until Saturday morning I didn't even know there was going to be a premiere, but then I contacted Gertjan. Since he did not have anybody to join him, I was the lucky one and I gained a spot on the guest list. Later when I found out there were also tickets for sale for the pre premiere, my sister managed to get herself a ticket as well. So there we went to Amsterdam again…
That evening there were two screenings of the Strike A Pose movie. Before the start of the first, both Oliver and Luis were there to give a short introduction.
When we entered the space, Luis and Oliver were standing at the entrance. Sister and I waved to both dancers and Oliver recognised us immediately from our 'friendship' on Facebook. He even remembered my sister's birthday and that he wrote her a birthday message (-he is so funny).
They both signed my tour book and the Queens English cd. My sister asked him what Queens English was about and he & filmmaker Reijer Zwaan explained it to us. For the people that don't know, it is a secret language to use when you want to say something inappropriate without others knowing.
The movie started. For 90 minutes I was glued to the screen. The documentary shows the dancers as seven very special and warm personalities in a very sincere way. Still unique in their own way and I very much understood why they were chosen by Madonna back in the days. Not only they were the best dancers, they all had this little something special, they shine! And even though they still do, they did not grow up without difficulties. Their lives have been far from easy…
Madonna is only a small part of the movie, but she is pictured in a very positive way. Like Truth or Dare was mostly about daring, the theme of this movie was more about the truth and unfortunately a lot of painful truth.
I can really recommend this movie and hope it will cause the same effect as Truth or Dare in the 90s. That it will open peoples eyes again, and make the world a more tolerant place, since I believe we lost a bit of our open-minded way of thinking due to things like the crisis we are going through.
Just 15 minutes after the first movie finished, the red carpet was rolled out and the official premiere started. The Madonna friends and I were in between the whole happening and managed to make some pictures and got some more signs on my book. The complete environment was very relaxed and the stars of the evening were very down to earth and approachable.
In the afternoon before I left, I made a plan. I knew there was going to be an after party and since José said to me after the dance lessons, 'we should hang out', I decided I wanted to join that party too, with or without an invitation. I was convinced it was going to be big fun and that I would manage to get in. This is what I call my blond ambition ;-)
Marlous and I waited more than two hours in the restaurant for the 2nd movie to finish. We got out of the building at the same time as the dancers, and walked in between them to the tower next to the EYE cinema, where the party would take place on the 20th floor. Two nice Brazilian and Italian fans that my sister and I met during the dance lessons, told us to stay close to them and that Jose said we needed to walk with him and the dancers to get in. I studied the dancers while walking to the other building; I just love to observe people and especially those flamboyant ones. Both Slam and Jose were sharing one cigarette and I quickly noticed the Slam from 25 years ago and I was happy to see some extravaganza in the Buddhist too. I always feel at my best between some extravaganzas so I had the time of my life.
There was a long queue in front of the tower, but everyone had to make space for the dancers to get to the elevator first, Marlous and I were happily walking in between them, leaving all the others behind… without an invitation. I was thrilled that my mission succeeded!
Upstairs with a beautiful view over the city, there were free drinks and nice beats played by the DJ, mixed with some Madonna songs such as Vogue, Lucky Star and Music. Marlous and I danced and vogued for a few hours and I think out of all the people that attended, we were having the best time.
When my sister and I were about to leave, we wanted to shake the hands of the dancers we did not speak to yet: Carlton and Kevin. Carlton seemed to be busy with others and when my sister was entering the corridor to the elevator, she met Kevin. Perfect timing and a better place to have a good conversation without music playing loudly. When I told him that he and the dancers inspired me to become a dancer but I didn't, he wanted to convince me that I still could become one. He does not only work as a choreographer and dancer nowadays, he told me he is working as a mental coach too. So he immediately started to act like a coach, so sweet!
He told us he started dancing only one year before the Blond Ambition Tour. When I told him I was dancing for hobby and OK with the fact that I became a fashion designer and shared a label with my sister, he asked for our business card. We exchanged business cards and we showed a self-designed scarf Marlous was wearing. Funny detail is that Kevin and us were both having a business card with scissors as a logo. He calls himself "Rogue Romeo" and we are "Les Soeurs Rouges". Rouge and Rogue, just two letters mixed up. Both Kevin, Marlous and I were surprised by this fact and we decided to give Kevin our silk scarf as a present since we felt like family.
When sister and I were finally walking outside to our car, I had the feeling I had been part of the Truth or Dare movie for a few hours, it felt good and amazing. Five out of the six dancers we spoke to, except Carlton…
On Wednesday we found out why… this gentleman was still in the Netherlands and guest at another screening of Strike a Pose and Truth or Dare on Friday the 27th of May… my sister could not remember anything from the Truth or Dare documentary (she was 8 in 1991), so we decided to go to both movies and at the very end of them, we finally met Carlton. After the meeting we celebrated this week of happiness at another after-party by Vogueing the night away, with the seven dancers for always in our heart.
Click here to check out the work of Les Soeurs Rouges and to support them to show their work in Paris.
'Strike A Pose', the new documentary that follows up on the lives of the Blond Ambition dancers, premiered in The Netherlands last week. For the occasion, the dancers organised a dance session. Dorrith and Marlous, two Dutch fans and good friends of the Mad-Eyes team, were lucky enough to attend. Here's their report on this unique experience.
And you can dance!
Sunday morning, May 22nd, waking up tired after my sister's birthday party, I decided to make it a pyjama day and do some homework behind my computer.
Somewhere in the afternoon, I swipe from making prints to the Internet. Seen the interview with the dancers from Madonna's Blond Ambition tour the Friday before on Dutch television, made me want to take a quick look in their lives on Facebook.
"Come and dance with me tomorrow" is the message from Slam that I read first… it was posted 17 hours ago… I jumped from my chair from excitement and quickly looked up where and when…
Amsterdam Chasse studios, four hours away from then and another workshop straight after in Vogueing from Jose Gutierez. In total three hours of dancing from Madonna's dancers, well that would definitely make my dream come true!
Months ago I already took a quick look on Jose's page and found out he teaches Vogueing classes in New York nowadays. I was both enthusiastic but sad at the same time, flying to NY would be impossible for me and I would have to save money for over 10 years to make that dream come true. Finding out both Slam and Jose were teaching in dancing in Amsterdam, was something that made me the happiest girl in the world! As a kid I studied every dance step from the BA tour and now I finally had the change to revive that feeling of the idea to become a dancer!
I immediately called my sister Marlous to tell her we were going to Amsterdam that night, since we both love dancing and I knew she would like this too. She had not recovered from her birthday party either, but was indeed just as eager to join.
Luckily there was still space for us to join. I did not really know what to expect from the lessons from Slam. But found out when I got there (contemporary dance mixed with yoga).
When I entered the huge ballet room that is located in a church, I felt a lot of balance, harmony and silence. There were about 30 dancers and they all looked very professional and I soon found out they were. Beautiful fairy-tale music started, Slam quickly introduced himself and told us he could speak some Dutch too (in Dutch).
My sister and I were just joining for the fun and out of curiousness; I did not do any contemporary dance lessons in 15 years, but most people joining were there to follow a serious workshop, not because they were a Madonna fan or that they were very much into the BA tour era. So I can tell you, it was hard working for me!
Luckily we started with yoga, where I am more familiar with nowadays, so at least I could do something well. When doing my poses I studied the teacher very well, and I have to say, I did not see anything that reminded me of this young wild dancer from the BA tour in his character. Slam has the appearance of a Buddhist, almost shy and very warm and friendly. He took notice of everything that happened when teaching and made sure every student got attention. He started with making adjustments to the moves of the students at the other side of the room and during the lessons he came closer and closer. I was hoping we had to do something I was good at the time he came to our side. Luckily this was the case when we did the triangle pose. He adjusted my foot a little and stretched out my arm. I tried to look cool but on the inside I was only thinking OMG he touched my hand!
After 1,5 hours, the lesson was over. In my opinion Slam is a very good teacher and worked very hard! The kid inside of me wanted to have all the dancers signed the cover of my BA tour book, so I decided to jump in front of this handsome man before he left the building. He signed and we took some pictures. In the meantime Jose entered and signed my book and Queens English cd too and the next class started.
These Vogue lessons were a lot easier for me since I practiced my skills for already 26 years. The difficulty was that it seemed this was workshop 2 out of 1. So most of the people who were joining, already knew a very big part because they practiced the evening before. My sister and I worked hard and did what we could, including standing something like upside down on your head and crawling on the floor kind of stuff. Jose managed to push my boundaries, I sort of was able to join the upside down and inside out moves on my head and enjoyed every minute of the lessons from this cute little man.
Yes he is adorable, he shines, is full of energy, very approachable and a very open and warm personality, he is still in the same shape as 30 years ago, a fabulous dancer and he is someone you just can't take your eyes from.
I enjoyed every minute of this evening and at the end of Jose's workshop, two other fans and I wanted to do some Vogueing on a Madonna song. So we freestyled a bit with Jose and Slam. Jose recognised I studied all the Madonna moves way back and mentioned I knew the dance better than him, oh yes, that made me smile!
If this was all for the week, it already made my year… but the story will be continued…
Check out our follow-up story tomorrow!
It's safe to say that B. Akerlund is having a very big year. After putting Beyoncé into that mustard-color Roberto Cavalli confection for Lemonade, the stylist was enlisted by Madonna to dress the icon for her tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.
And judging by the Instagrams issued by the Queen of Pop leading up to Sunday night's event—from lace layered under dangling crucifixes, to paparazzi shots of the pair in matching shades of yellow from the late '80s, to stage pictures of Prince clad in thigh-high socks, bikini briefs, lace arm-warmers, and a fringed, beaded top—this was not an affair in which the costume considerations would be taken lightly.
When dealing with figures that loom as large in the collective cultural psyche as Madonna and Prince—both with their own distinct sartorial codas (and bestowed with such particularly unique lore)—the fashion has a lot to live up to. And thanks to Gucci's Alessandro Michele, it did.
Madonna took to the stage for her emotional, intimate tribute, singing "Nothing Compares 2 U" before being joined by Stevie Wonder for a duet of "Purple Rain," in an embroidered metallic brocade three-piece suit with swirling purple paisley print and underlying frilled blouse—a look that, thanks to the film adaptation, is as synonymous with Prince as the symbol he once took on as a name. (And it's worth noting that suiting made a few appearances earlier in the evening, in Kesha's purple and embroidered white Gram Parsons–inspired versions, both vintage Nudie, and the ladylike Chanel take worn by Demi Lovato.)
Michele, who has worked with the Material Girl before, most notably on Latin-influenced costumes for her Rebel Heart tour, perhaps put it best in the note sent to Vogue.com accompanying his sketch: "It's more than a performance, it's a real act of love."
His legacy lives on! Madonna performed a moving tribute to her late friend and fellow music icon Prince at the Billboard Music Awards 2016 on Sunday, May 22.
Before the chart-topping diva, 57, took the stage at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena to cover some of Prince's most memorable tracks, Questlove shared a few words about the "Kiss" crooner at her Madgesty's request.
"On April 21, we lost Prince. I say 'we' because it affects us all, and no matter what kind of music we make, no matter how long we made it, our race, our creed, our sexual orientation, all of us live in the land of music, and his departure from it was an earthquake," Questlove, 45, who calls Prince his "idol," shared. "I just want to take a moment to remember the great Prince Rogers Nelson. It can be a moment of silence here in the air, but inside our heads, it should be anything but silence."
Next, the Roots drummer introduced the "Living for Love" songstress, who began her set with a voice-over from Prince's smash "Let's Go Crazy." Clad in a sparkling lilac baroque-inspired pantsuit and sitting on a plush purple throne, Madonna passionately belted out "Nothing Compares 2 U."
Cane in hand, the entertainer then walked down a set of stairs on stage to get closer to the star-studded audience. Photos of Prince flashed on the screen behind Madonna as she lowered her head. Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance in the middle of Madonna's set and joined her for a touching rendition of Prince's iconic song "Purple Rain." The duo closed the show by encouraging the arena to clap their hands to their a cappella vocals.
"Most of all, thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson, for all that you have given us," Madonna said at the end of the performance.
Prior to Madonna wowing the crowd at tonight's ceremony, a Change.org petition was created by Prince fans, which aimed to stop Madonna's performance from happening.
"Listen, I think everybody is entitled to their opinion and everyone can have their own opinion, but I will say that we are honored and could not be more excited for Madonna to be on the show and to pay tribute to someone that was her friend and her peer and her colleague," BBMAs producer Mark Bracco said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, May 17. "I think it's going to be fantastic."
Bracco added that it was Madonna's idea to pay homage to Prince. "Honestly, her team gave a call and inquired about what we might be thinking about and it led to many conversations about what would she want to do and how would we want to shape it creatively," he explained. "And after everyone [got] comfortable with exactly what the direction was, we all collectively wanted to go into Madonna, that she would do this, and she has been very, very involved in how this will all unfold creatively."
Madonna remembered the seven-time Grammy winner in two touching Instagram posts on Sunday.
"Channeling the brilliant Prince Rogers Nelson," she captioned a photo of her pal rocking out onstage with a guitar. In a subsequent 'gram, the pop queen shared a close-up shot of what appeared to be the costume she wore during tonight's show. "In Loving Memory of ................💘👑✝," she wrote alongside the pic.
Madonna was heartbroken when she heard Prince died at age 57 after he was found unresponsive in an elevator at his suburban Chanhassen, Minnesota, home on Thursday, April 21.
"He Changed The World!!" she wrote at the time, accompanied by a throwback snap of the pair together from the '90s. "A True Visionary. What a loss. I'm Devastated."
The longtime friends, who were rumored to have briefly dated in 1985, collaborated on the 1988 song "Love Song," which was featured on Madonna's fourth studio album, Like a Prayer.
When Madonna honored Prince at last night's Billboard Music Awards, I thought to myself, there is no other artist more suitable to honor the music and art of the tragically deceased Prince. After all, Madonna's close relationship with Prince is well known and documented (check their duet- Love Song on her Like a Prayer Album) and let's be honest, she is the only artist from the "Prince era" still managing to fill stadiums and make hit records (her latest Rebel Heart Tour grossed over US$170 million, making her the highest grossing solo tour artist and her latest album peaked at number one worldwide when released last year).
So what went wrong with Madonna's tribute? Or should I say, why has the whole world become so anti-Madonna?
My honest answer- the world simply cannot accept the fact that Madonna, a music icon and legend, is still alive. But not just that! She is 57 and looks better than girls half her age. Hell, she even sings better than the latest parade of manufactured Barbie pop stars. Yes, she might not be scoring Top 10 hits like in her prime but people still pay big bucks to see her and the fact that her latest album which was leaked 3 months before its release still managed to become number one album worldwide, says a lot about a woman that many claim is "irrelevant".
If Madonna (god forbid) died tomorrow, all of the haters would post her music videos on Facebook, buy her albums and praise her as a genius and a true revolutionary. Her name would be trending on Twitter (not because of hate but praise) and I am confident that radios will play her music nonstop(unlike now). They would say that she changed the world, paved the way for women around the world, fought for sexual revolution and stood for her beliefs.
The "problem" is, Madonna is still alive. Unlike Michael Jackson, Elvis and even Prince (sorry, do not want to offend any fans), she is not using drugs, is not addicted to any substances, is healthier than probably 90% of the world population and most importantly, she doesn't seem to want to retire. I mean why should she? She is Madonna!
So why don't we all just give Madonna a break and admit that without her, the world of music would be a very boring place. Let's not wait until she is gone to say that we have a true revolutionary and icon living among us. Let's not make the same mistake that we did with many long forgotten artists who were praised only after they died. Let's celebrate our icons while they are still among us.
Madonna once said: "I want to be like Gandhi and Martin Luther King and John Lennon but I want to STAY ALIVE." For the world media, the fact that she wants to stay alive seems to be a problem. Sadly, we have been taught to praise only dead Icons. Maybe Madonna is about to change that.
When it was first announced that Madonna would be the sole performer paying tribute to the late Prince at this year’s Billboard Music Awards, many naysayers balked. Some haters even launched a grassroots petition demanding that she share her stage time with Prince’s entourage members, like Sheila E. or the Time, or with worthy successors like Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and the Weeknd.
However, a solid argument could be made for why the Material Girl was an appropriate artist to lead the BBMAs' homage to the Purple One. Madonna and Prince were peers, collaborators, and, according to some reports, perhaps even more than that. In 1989, the two dueted on "Love Song," a track they co-wrote for Like a Prayer (her fourth album, which also featured Prince's guitar work on three cuts). While the two famously feuded later on, they reportedly made up in recent years, and regardless, their careers were always in parallel. No pop provocateurs ever genre-hopped or pushed sexual boundaries as fiercely or fearlessly as these two MTV icons – both born in 1958 – did in the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond.
Perhaps it was these artists' overlapping discographies of overtly lovesexy material that had some detractors worried that Madonna's show-closing BBMAs tribute would be some sort of shamelessly R-rated spectacle. Maybe Madonna would appear in butt-baring yellow chaps or a "Controversy"-era leather thong. Maybe she'd sing "Darling Nikki," or mash up her own "Erotica" with "Erotic City." That, obviously, would have been ill-advised. But instead, Madonna gave a tasteful, gimmick-free, uncharacteristically subdued performance that demonstrated great respect for her old friend's legacy.
Wearing a Wendy- and/or Lisa-worthy ruffled lavender suit and sitting quietly on a revolving purple throne, Madonna was visibly trembling, her eyes already watering, as the number began. It was a rare nervous moment from this usually unflappable consummate professional, the sort of performer who can take an offstage tumble at the BRIT Awards and hop right back up. Also surprising was Madonna's song choice: "Nothing Compares 2 U," a Prince-penned ballad primarily associated with Sinead O'Connor, who scored a massive hit with it in 1990. Backed by an orchestra and video screens showing funeral scenes, white doves, and iconic photos of Prince himself, Madonna warbled the tear-jerking classic simply and straightforwardly.
For those still not satisfied by Madonna's tribute (and there were some disgruntled rumblings on Twitter), it turned out she wasn't the only artist to take part. Surprise guest Stevie Wonder emerged towards the end to lead a glorious audience singalong of "Purple Rain," and Questlove, at Madonna's request, introduced the performance with a heartfelt speech.
"On April 21st, we lost Prince. I say 'we,' because it affects us all, and no matter what kind of music we make, no matter how long we have made it, no matter our race, our color, our creed, our sexual orientation – all of us live in the land of music. And his departure from it was an earthquake," said Questlove. "But his departure leaves behind so much work still to do. And we can follow the trails he blazed. We can follow his example. We can be fierce. We can be uncompromising. We can be experimental. We can also listen to all of the songs that he left for us. He was very generous in that regard. And as we move forward, we will encounter, every single day, more reasons to remember him."
Questlove's words were followed by a moment of silence that filled Las Vegas's usually boisterous T-Mobile Arena.
Earlier in the night, the above-mentioned Weeknd, who was the night's big winner with eight awards, mentioned Prince in his first of several acceptance speeches. "I want to dedicate this award to the late, great Prince. Rest in peace. I was told not long ago that his last TV appearance, he had given me an award, and that was the greatest experience of my entire life," he said, referring to last year's BBMAs ceremony, at which Prince was a surprise presenter. "And I love him so much. I don't know him, but he was very close to me, and he will always be an inspiration. And of course, helped me push the envelope forever – and every artist, I hope. Rest in peace, Prince. Thank you, I love you."
What's a tribute, anyway? Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards, the most soul-crushingly cynical of the soul-crushingly cynical music-awards shows, encouraged viewers to take an expansive definition of the word. Britney Spears's opening set, where she determinedly walked through a medley of her hits and deep cuts, felt like nothing so much as a tribute to her past relevance. Kesha's powerful version of "It Ain't Me Babe" was less an homage to Bob Dylan than to her times as a more carefree pop star. Celine Dion doing Queen's "The Show Must Go On" was an act of personal, public mourning.
But the most divisive performance of the night was the only memorial that was really billed as such—Madonna's pitchy but pious rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Purple Rain" with Stevie Wonder. The performance was, at its most basic level, a tribute to Prince, but like so much of the evening it felt like a statement of futility: Something's gone forever, and the only, imperfect thing to do is sing about it.
That BET was so quickly able to advertise its forthcoming Prince tribute by bashing the Madonna one that had just aired ("Yeah, we saw that. Don't worry. We got you.") was a sign of how opinions around her performance had formed before it began. Madonna and Prince were peers on the charts, gained popularity in part through transgression, and had a real but complicated—and at times bitter—relationship. So it makes sense that she'd memorialize him at some point, somewhere, and an awards show where nominations are largely determined by record sales is, as these things go, a pretty low-stakes venue. But while he always was able to seem like a genuine freak, she has never been able to escape the impression of trying very hard for attention, and as a musician her strengths are very different from what his were. The fears of a catastrophe, something that tried to eclipse Prince's achievements with Madonna's antics, were high.
But showboat Madonna did not. This was as textbook-definition-respectful a set as anyone could have expected. The visuals were right: a flawless glistening suit as fashion homage, in front of images of Prince that were, appropriately, dwarfing. Her song choices did not try to wow with eclecticism, nor did they try to force a comparison between Prince's dance songs and Madonna's. Rather, they aimed for the tear ducts of the masses. In bringing in Stevie Wonder for "Purple Rain," she made a respectable choice to share the stage with someone who highlights different, significant parts of Prince's legacy.
She may have thought that all of these things meant she was playing it safe, but that idea discounts the fact that vocal ability is a real thing. Madonna simply isn't equipped to hit the notes needed to convey the ache of these ballads. This gives the backlash that was already inevitable a devastating amount of legitimacy: You can point to her performance itself, not the politics of it, to make the case she wasn't qualified for the gig. An uptempo song might have been a better fit, both for Madonna's sake and the memory of Prince's. At the very least, it seems like a mistake to let the need for weepy in-memorium strings prevent there from being a guitar anywhere on stage.
But then again, does it matter? The announcement of BET having a Prince tribute of its own is a reminder that when someone as huge as this dies, no one person is going to be able to sum them up. After David Bowie passed earlier this year, Lady Gaga staged a frenetic Grammys medley that was precisely the opposite of Madonna's approach last night—yet received similar accusations of arrogance and miscalculation. At later occasions, other performers from Lorde to the Flaming Lips to Cyndi Lauper took their worthy shots at covering Bowie, and as a result his legend has only grown.
So it shall be with Prince, as Questlove, who introduced Madonna's set, pointed out on Twitter. He added, "Every Prince rendition will not be a life changing orgasmic xperience. Just to SING his work is brave enough." I saw another comment today that summed up the failure of most tributes: "The thing about irreplaceable artists is that they are irreplaceable." Nothing compares.
How do you pay proper homage in seven to 10 minutes to a prolific artist who fit in no one box, had a style all his own, who churned out music for almost 40 years and had a larger-than-life presence onstage?
Well, most likely you don't, because no one's been able to do it yet.
Obviously, no one had any issues in the disconsolate days immediately following Prince's death with Coachella being awash in purple light, every artist from Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen to Little Big Town covering Prince in concert, or radio stations playing selections from his vast catalogue 24/7.
The vibe was the more the merrier, albeit with little actual merriment because of all the sadness.
But last night, the first spotlighted, super-hyped awards show tribute dedicated to the inimitable artist was met with almost nothing but eye-rolls from the Internet.
Even BET, host of the next awards show that's going to attempt to climb that same mountain, joined the chorus of virtual boos, ensuring that its tribute is going to give the fans what they need.
But maybe first we all accept the fact that there's no way that a dedicated Prince tribute is going to satisfy everybody.
So far it's only been the unexpected moments, such as Chris Stapleton gutting his audience with a cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U" last month or D'Angelo and "Princess" (aka Maya Rudolph) doing "Sometimes It Snows in April" on The Tonight Show, that have won rave reviews.
And that's because, simply, there is no way to properly pay tribute to Prince in one fell swoop.
It's not that Madonna, who is the definition of Prince's contemporary, was saddled with the wrong song, sang it flatly or gave a low-energy performance (all offenses she has been accused of) at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. In case those tweeting from home failed to notice, the live audience was happily lost in the moment, the likes of Rihanna singing adoringly along.
Then when Stevie Wonder walked out for "Purple Rain," forget about it. (A must-quote from the Los Angeles Times' Mikael Wood today: "Wonder on autopilot equals basically every other artist in total concentration.")
But though it seemed like a powerful moment in real time, Madonna's performance has been widely panned.
The biggest complaint (other than the lament that Madonna was there in the first place) is that the song choice was wrong. ALL WRONG! Prince was a high-energy performer, he has countless hits that he made famous, where were Sheila E. and members of his band, etc.
Ironically, that's the exact opposite of the biggest complaint leveled at Lady Gaga's tribute to David Bowie at the Grammys in February. That homage was accused of being too hectic, too all over the place. Bowie had so many thought-provoking songs that deserve lingering over, why cram nine or 10 into a few minutes that don't truly showcase his artistry?
Funny how that works.
Lady Gaga is easily one of Bowie's most successful artistic disciples and couldn't be a bigger fan. Yet she got slammed too for supposedly not doing the Starman justice.
But just as Madonna was last night, Gaga was tasked with the impossible.
Sunday night (May 22) in Las Vegas, Madonna saluted her friend and collaborator Prince with a two-song performance at the Billboard Music Awards. Paying tribute to the late legend at the Las Vegas show, she performed "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Purple Rain," which included a surprise appearance from Stevie Wonder. Madonna took to social media today to respond to critics of the production.
"Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to," she wrote. "Whatever your age Gender or skin Color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!! I love Prince 4 ever."
Shortly after, she posted a video of her dancing, along with the caption, "This is my 'I'm not your bitch don't hang your shit on me' Dance," quoting her 1994 hit "Human Nature."
Also joining the chorus was Céline Dion, who said Madonna did an "incredible job" of covering Prince on the BBMAs stage.
Madonna paid tribute to Prince during the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night, covering "Nothing Compares 2 U" before bringing Stevie Wonder onstage for a moving rendition of "Purple Rain."
Questlove introduced the tribute, comparing Prince's death to an "earthquake" and allowing a moment of silence to memorialize the singer. Following the silence, Prince's voice rang through the venue with his iconic "Dearly beloved..." intro to "Let's Go Crazy." Madonna, who collaborated with the singer for "Love Song" off Like a Prayer, appeared onstage on a throne. The singer, wearing a glittery purple suit, offered a solemn take on "Nothing Compares 2 U." Towards the end of her cover, Wonder walked onstage to belt "Purple Rain" before the audience turned the tribute into a massive sing-a-long
Prince and Madonna briefly dated in 1985, a few years before the "Love Song" duet. However, things began growing sour between the pair for the next few decades as they carried on a feud that seemed to end in 2011 when Madonna attended one of Prince's concerts.
However, their peace was short-lived when Prince called out Madonna in a 2013 interview with Billboard where he named Madonna as a reason for his split with label Warner Bros. "She was getting paid, but at the time, we were selling more records and selling out concerts on multiple nights," he said. "It wasn't about her. This was about business."
Before his sudden death in April, it seemed that the pair had been on good terms once more. Following the Minnesota stop of her Rebel Heart Tour, she stopped by Paisley Park for a late-night jam session the rocker put on with his backing band 3rdeyegirl. She even accompanied him as he made his way to the stage before taking a spot in the VIP section to watch Prince perform.
Madonna just paid respect to the Purple One in epic fashion ... bringing out Stevie Wonder for a duet of Prince's famous track.
With the Billboard Music Awards dripping in purple ... Madge and Stevie would've made him proud.
The announcement that Madonna would be paying tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards caused no shortage of controversy -- perhaps understandably. After all, Prince was probably the greatest musical genius of his generation; while Madonna is a phenomenal talent at many things, her chops as a musician are maybe not at the top of that list.
But the tribute is much more fitting than it might seem to some. More than any other music stars, the two defined the '80s, and they enjoyed a kind of frenemy relationship that saw them collaborating several times over the years and hanging out even more -- the most recent time that we know of was a late-night private concert at Paisley Parkin October that was attended by around 60 people, about half of whom were Madonna and her entourage, when she was in Minnesota on her Rebel Heart tour.
And while just one song has emerged from their brief period of collaboration around the time of Madonna's Like a Prayer album ("Love Song," although it's Prince's guitar you hear at the start of "Like a Prayer"), it wasn't for lack of trying: There's reportedly a Prince-produced version of "Like a Prayer" out there somewhere, and Madonna was originally slated to costar in Prince's ultimately disastrous 1990 feature film Graffiti Bridge.
Madonna knew enough to go to an expert for some words of praise: Questlove, drummer of the Roots, musical director of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, lifelong Prince fan, expert (he's taught a course on Prince's music at New York University) and occasional collaborator. "All of us live in the land of music, and his departure from it was an earthquake," he said, before making some comical remarks about "every time we hear a scream [he let out a squeak]... every time we see a yellow suit with the rear cut out..."
Prince's full "Let's Go Crazy" spoken intro played as the lights came up on a purple throne with its back to the audience -- it slowly turned around to reveal Madonna, wearing a flawless suit clearly in homage to the ones Prince wore on the 1984-85 Purple Rain tour, with a cross hanging from her wrist and holding a cane, which Prince did in his last few years, including his performance at the 2013 BBMAs.
The music deftly shifted to "Nothing Compares 2 U," which Madonna sang in Sinead O'Connor's arrangement -- accompanied by a string quartet, two singers, two keyboardists and a vaguely trap drum machine -- playing it safe and nailing most of the notes. Tears were visible in her eyes by the end of the first verse.
She finished the song -- and then, in a surprise, Stevie Wonder joined her onstage for a coda of the chorus from "Purple Rain." Purple spotlights criss-crossed the arena as the crowd waved illuminated purple wristbands in time with the song, with Wonder leading a gospel-inflected a cappella breakdown of the chorus as the cameras panned to audience members, many of them in tears.
Stevie thanked Madonna, Madonna thanked Stevie, and then said, "And most of all, thank you Prince Rogers Nelson, for all that you have given us." It was a perfect ending to a moving tribute.
Madonna is set to perform in honor of Prince at the Billboard Music Awards tonight (May 22), and she has a little extra in store.
Billboard has learned that the Material Girl asked Questlove to share a few words about Prince.
And The Roots drummer has prepared a tribute to the late icon that will lead into Madonna's performance at the ceremony.
Prince unexpectedly passed away April 21 at the age of 57. Other details on Madonna's tribute remain a closely guarded secret.
Britney Spears, Kesha, Celine Dion, Fifth Harmony, Troye Sivan, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Justin Bieber, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, Nick Jonas and Tove Lo, Demi Lovata, Pink, The Go-Go's, Shawn Mendes, Lukas Graham and DNCE are also set to perform at the show.
The Queen of Pop will pay homage to another member of music royalty, Prince, at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.
Organizers today announced Madonna's participation in what promises to be one of the highlights of this year's BBMAs. The legendary pop singer will pay tribute to her good friend and fellow artist, who unexpectedly passed away April 21 at the age of 57. Details on her tribute to the late music great remain a closely-guarded secret.
There's no mystery surrounding the lineup of performers on the night. The likes of Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, DNCE, Fifth Harmony, The Go-Go's, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes, Pink, Britney Spears and Troye Sivan will take the stage, and a collaboration is confirmed with Nick Jonas and Tove Lo. Celine Dion will be on hand to receive the ICON Award.
The Weeknd is shaping to have a big BBMAs weekend. The Canadian hitmaker is a finalist 19 times in 16 categories.
This year's ceremony will air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 22 from TMobile Arena in Las Vegas. It'll be hosted by BBMA vet Ludacris and first-time host Ciara and produced by dick clark productions.
Much has been said about Madonna's daring dress at this week's MET Gala. Unfortunately critics seemed to think Madonna's age was an important parameter to judge her fashion decisions. Here's what Madonna had to say about this.
"We have fought and continue to fight for civil rights and gay rights around the world. When it comes to Women's rights we are still in the dark ages. My dress at the Met Ball was a political statement as well as a fashion statement. The fact that people actually believe a woman is not allowed to express her sexuality and be adventurous past a certain age is proof that we still live in an age-ist and sexist society.
I have never thought in a limited way and I'm not going to start. We cannot effect change unless we are willing to take risks By being fearless and By taking the road leas traveled by. Thats how we change history. If you have a problem with the way I dress it is simply a reflection of your prejudice. I'm not afraid to pave the way for all the girls behind me‼️ As Nina Simone once said, the definition of freedom is being fearless. I remain Unapologetic and a Rebel ❤️ in this life and all the others. Join my fight for Gender. Equality!"
We have fought and continue to fight for civil rights and gay rights around the world. When it comes to Women's rights we are still in the dark ages. My dress at the Met Ball was a political statement as well as a fashion statement. The fact that people actually believe a woman is not allowed to express her sexuality and be adventurous past a certain age is proof that we still live in an age-ist and sexist society. I have never thought in a limited way and I'm not going to start. We cannot effect change unless we are willing to take risks By being fearless and By taking the road leas traveled by. Thats how we change history. If you have a problem with the way I dress it is simply a reflection of your prejudice. I'm not afraid to pave the way for all the girls behind me‼️ As Nina Simone once said, the definition of freedom is being fearless. I remain Unapologetic and a Rebel ❤️ in this life and all the others. Join my fight for Gender. Equality! 🙏🏻
Put it away, Madonna: We like our older women invisible and devoid of sexualitySource: Huffington Post - 3 May 2016
Unless you've been living under a rock (or away from Twitter or the Daily Mail's sidebar of shame), you'll know that last night marked *the* fashion red carpet event of the year: The Met Gala.
You'll also know that each year self-appointed fashion police draw their claws to mock and ridicule the sartorial choices of fashion royalty, creating 'worst dressed lists' (which far out perform 'best dressed lists') and a memes (remember Rihanna's 2015 pizza dress?).
At best, they're harmless, at worst, they're nasty, but by and large most Met Gala critiques centre around outfit choices. Unless you're Madonna, that is, in which case your date of birth takes centre stage.
Arriving at the event last night, the singer nearly broke the internet. Wearing a black lace Givenchy number, the 57-year-old was widely criticised and ridiculed for exposing part of her buttocks and her breasts.
Twitter quickly erupted, telling us she 'should know better' or 'shouldn't wear that at her age'. So far, so ageist.
According to a HuffPost UK Met Gala style report, "nearly naked" outfits were the look of the night. But while teens and 20-somethings have been widely applauded for showing some skin, the treatment of Madonna's outfit screams double standards and ageism.
After all, we can deal with female nudity, as long as a) we can commodify that body and b) that body is young. Think what you want about Madonna's outfit, but critique the outfit not her age.
For as long as I can remember, Madonna has been reduced to ridicule. Whether her toned arms were "too manly" or her gyrating dance moves in the 2005 Hung Upmusic video, we're constantly reminded by commentators of how old Madonna is and how "she really should know better".
In the 80s and 90s, Madonna established herself as an unapologetically strong, female role model. She pushed the boundaries of sexuality and femininity to become the ultimate sex symbol and global superstar.
Now, she's expected to revoke all that, because society can't handle it when women age. We like our older women invisible and devoid of sexuality.
Whether it's the music industry, Hollywood or politics, women disappear from public life as they get older. We're recycled for younger, wrinkle-free women while men get increasingly decrepit and no one bats an eyelid.
Madonna is, much to my delight, utterly unapologetic. This morning, amid the furore, she made her position on the matter very clear.
Here's to wearing whatever the hell we like, for as long as we like.
Madonna inside the ManusxMachina Experience3 May 2016
The legendary #Madonna inside the Manus x Machina experience, directed by #GordonVonSteiner #art8amby #art8ambygram #art8ambynews #art8ambyfashion #MetBall #MetGala2016 #MetGala #ManusXMachina #Repost @voguemagazine with @repostapp. ・・・ The one and only @madonna in @givenchyofficial inside the #ManusxMachina Experience. Directed by @gvsgvs. #MetGala
Met Gala 2016: Madonna's Givenchy look is inspired by 'kinesiology tape'Source: Telegraph - 3 May 2016
Madonna is never afraid of wearing something daring on the red carpet, and at this year's Met Gala she took the sheer dressing trend to the next level in a black lace Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci gown with no underwear on underneath. But it turns out this gothic look is surprisingly inspired by a practical item you'll often spot athletes wearing at the Olympics: therapeutic kinesiology tape.
Madonna walked the red carpet with the house's creative director Riccardo Tisci, who created her custom black lace look which she says was "inspired by the therapeutic kinesiology tape that she wears for her fatigued muscles on tour." This is the tape, which usually comes in bright colours, that athletes wear to enhance performance and reduce injuries. More Rio 2016 than Met Gala 2016.
Madonna wore black lace tights and a body, with straps of black material winding around her legs and arms resembling kinesiology tape. She might be wearing a floor-length skirt, but there is fabric missing over her breasts and derriere, so the look leaves very little to the imagination. Madonna said to E! on the red carpet that there was one downside to wearing so little fabric - it makes it "hard to pee." As for her jewellery, she wore stacked rings by Lynn Ban, a cross body chain and a necklace by Neil Lane.
This isn't the first time the singer has collaborated with Givenchy for the Met Gala, as in 2013 she also went pantless in custom Riccardo Tisci. The designer created a fishnet body stocking and tartan jacket for the punk-themed event.
Madonna dazzles in Givenchy at MET GalaSource: People - 3 May 2016
Peek a boo!
Madonna left many stunned when she attended the 2016 Met Gala wearing a sheer black Givenchy gown. Accompanied by the brand's creative director Riccardo Tisci, the singer rocked the designer dress paired with knee-high boots and jeweled headpiece.
While the front was jaw-dropping, it was the back of her ensemble that had everyone talking. The 57-year-old mother of four revealed her backside through the lacy fabric. She also covered her arms and thighs in black KT tape, which is used for common sports injuries.
Madonna's style may be unpredictable (in the best way possible), but you also never know what you're gonna get from a Madonna red carpet interview. TheRebel Heart artist admitted that her Givenchy gown has made it "hard to pee" at the star-studded event.
Even better, the star revealed that the best part of the ultra exclusive Met Gala soiree is the good. "I'm here for the breadsticks," she told E!.
Inside the event, Madonna removed the lace gown and stuck with her corset as seen in Tisci's Instagram post.↑ Back to top of page