Ah the Sixties

Last week, Madonna turned 60.  She once said "People say I'm controversial but I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around". We wanted to share the enduring power and impact of Madonna as she turns 60.

Madonna is a pioneer, on the front lines...a seductress and a battering ram.  She has continued to be a force as time moves on.  There has never been a pop star writing and performing at her level and demanding a seat at the table, at her age.  In a career spanning four decades, Madonna made real cultural change and caused a few cultural crises over and over again.  For all the criticism she's withstood during four decades in the spotlight, she deserves a celebration. Caryn Ganz

Madonna posed full frontal naked for "Sex" her 1992 coffee table book, the shocking part wasn't the nudity.  It was the point of view.  She subverted the viewers gaze by putting the focus squarely on her defiant character. The purity of Madonna's vision, evident in every inch of the photo, defied any pornographic projection. There she stood...with a cigarette dangling from a sneering mouth as she stuck out a finger to hitchhike on an open highway...Every possible danger sign was invoked, staring down all forces that could contain her freedom. Jim Farber

Madonna said "Art should be controversial, and that's all there is to it" and released her Like a Prayer video. The song had it's premiere as part of a TV Pepsi ad and Madonna released the music video the next day.  Madonna runs into a church after witnessing a group of white men assaulting a white woman. She comes forward to testify on behalf of the African-American man who was wrongly arrested and incarcerated for the crime. The video ignited protests over it's religious imagery, especially her stigmata scene, the statue of a black saint and the burning crosses.  She knew how to push some big buttons. Under the threat of boycott, Pepsi dropped the $5 million ad campaign and it's sponsorship of her world concert tour...Salamishah Tillet

These days, there's barely a female pop star alive who doesn't loudly broadcast her unwavering, if sometimes exploitative support for L.G.B.T. rights.  In 1991 Madonna, gave her no-holds-barred interview to the Advocate, showing more understanding of queer issues and identity than any pop star before her and most who came after.  Published during the peak era of HIV infections and deaths.  It was a time when many celebrities spoke about gay people only in the most nervously chaste ways. She endorsed the activist group Act-Up and spoke in sex positive terms with a comfort and care that was decades ahead of it's time. Jim Farber

A few years ago I attended a Halloween party, fun from the moment I got there. The host, Kelly, had a music collection that could fill a room or two.  It was a scene where you knew people, you didn't know others but as soon as Borderline came on,  every single person in the room started dancing and singing with a huge grin on their face. Hands were in the air, feet were off the ground as Madonna was, once again, bringing everyone  together.  I thought the  joy in the room that night was so strong, people could have levitated.  Thank you Madonna for the freedom you gave us.

20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 80's what does it all mean?  The possibilities are endless and with each new activity, new turn, you start to feel too young to be old.  Don't ever stop.   Much love to all of you.

Thank you so much for joining us today!

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Quote to take with you for the week

Gail KhanComment