Madonna opens up about ageism, reflects upon her decades-long career and calls Kanye West the ‘Black Madonna,’ drawing parallels between the controversies that both have caused over the years. It’s a wide-ranging and revealing interview with the New York Daily News and it’s generating quite a buzz.


Photo: Madonna
Credit: PR Photos

The Queen of Pop remains just that. It may have been more than 30 years since she rose to fame with a self-titled debut album that gave the decade of the 1980s some of its most iconic hits, from ‘Holiday’ to Borderline,’ and that was just the start. For those who thought she was a passing fancy — and who continue to think that — she continues to prove them wrong as she’s going strong at the age of 56.

On the eve of the release of her 13th studio album — the truly appropriately titled ‘Rebel Heart’ — she tells the New York Daily News, her thoughts about Kanye West with whom she collaborated on three of the album’s 19 tracks. She said of him, ““Kanye is the new Madonna…Kanye is the black Madonna.” She went on to talk about their shared penchant for being controversial, and added, ““We know, and recognize, that we have that in common…We’re comrades in the envelope-pushing genre.”

She went on to speak of her own envelope-pushing, namely her brazen and admirable defiance about ageism which she has combated for years. After all, she famously said in a Nightline interview back in 2008 when Cynthia McFadden asked her how she felt about turning 50, “F**k you. I’m 50.” As each year ticks by, her mere presence seems to offend some and she does not back down in the defiance.

She spoke out about the current controversy over how much skin she displays on stage and most recently on the red carpet of the 57th Grammy Awards, saying, ” “B*tch, this is what my a** looks like — show me what your a** looks like when you’re 56.” She went on to say, “I take care of myself. I’m in good shape. I can show my ass when I’m 56, or 66 — or 76. Who’s to say when I can show my ass? It’s sexism. It’s ageism. And it’s a kind of discrimination.”

And indeed it is. It’s surprising that this is still a trail that must be blazed, even after years of Cher’s age defiance on stage as she dons costumes she wore in the 1980s and 1990s. Not to mention the likes of the septuagenarians Jane Fonda, Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren, just to name a few, who dazzle with extreme beauty and toned bodies.

She opened up about how she feels about such criticism, saying, ““I’m only human…I’d like to get to the point where nothing can shake me. Sometimes I’m there, sometimes I’m not.”

She spoke out about her new album, ‘Rebel Heart’ and the deeply personal songs, including those alluding to a breakup. She said, ““There’s a lot of reminiscing on this album…I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for over three decades, so in many ways I feel like a survivor. I see that many of my peers, and friends, and people I collaborated with are no longer with us. That gave me pause. I said, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I made it this far.’ That was a catalyst for me.”

The interview continues in the wide-ranging and revelatory vein, and is, in that sense, pure Madonna. She speaks, for instance of her early years in New York City in the 1980s and is clearly nostalgic for the pre-Internet and pre-social media days, as she muses, “There’s a looking back here, a missing the beginning of my career when I was surrounded by other artists — not musical artists, but artist-artists — like Keith Haring and Basquiat and Warhol. It was a time when pop music was more naive and free. I was missing that feeling and that mixture of so many different worlds in New York.”

You can see Madonna’s complete interview here.

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Photos: Madonna
Credit: PR Photos