God Control: The Press Reactions
To say Madonna is no strange to controversy is trivial – the shock factor in her music, videos, books and live performances has often been used as a way to write click-baiting stories on the tabloid or trash her in the conservative press.
What is less common to read is that Madonna is actually using her platform as an artist – as she says in a press release – to push buttons and stretch boundaries.
In God Control, from her new album Madame X, she calls for a wake up call-to-action on gun violence and once again she gets right to the point. Released last night, the music video directed by Jonas Åkerlund has reached more than 880,000 views on YouTube as we write this.
The echo in the worldwide press is huge – and no matter if some stories don’t go much further than describing the videoclip and reporting the statement that Madonna used in a press release – and some even hurried to get statements from victims of the Pulse shooting to put everything in a bad light and call the entire thing insensitive – there are actually some articles that go deeper inside what God Control is about.
We particularly love what Bradley Stern wrote on Muumuse, but you’ll find many more articles linked below. Stern writes:
Madonna‘s tackled countless points of social contention throughout her over thirty year-long career as the Queen of Pop™ – religion, racial injustice, gender inequality, sexuality, war, power, greed, corruption. You name it, Madonna’s probably sung and danced around on stage about it at some point.
“God Control,” which I consider to be the true centerpiece of her worldly, political Madame X, tackles the super breezy subject of gun control. Nothing divisive about that issue at all here in America! Nope, not at all…
And in the accompanying Jonas Akerlund-directed music video released on Wednesday (June 26), she – as with anything – doesn’t shy away from illustrating the issue in vibrant and gory detail, complete with a much-needed trigger warning. Literally.
Admittedly, I – and many people in and around the entertainment industry, I’m sure – had a general idea of what was coming with this music video in advance because, well: squeeze a bunch of Drag Race girls, YouTubers and creatives into a room, and the tea is bound to spill. The descriptions I was given varied in intensity – from “it’s like a classic, old-school Madonna video” (?) to “it’s basically the Pulse shooting – you’re not ready.”
I was mostly terrified of how this already extremely sensitive subject could be approached with respect and decency, but after watching, I think Madonna’s managed to do it in an artistic, effective and, most of all, jarring way.
Without making specific references to any one event (because, frankly, who can even keep track at this horrifying rate?), Madame X tackles the most prevalent atrocities happening around the country in one clip: armed robbery, school shootings, club massacres. The underlying cause is always the same: gun violence.
He also says:
There are some particularly striking visual moments throughout, including the children’s choir singing through their tears, and the long line of caskets stretched down the church aisle. But perhaps one of the most effective scenes – for me, anyway – was seeing her getting dressed to go out for the night while watching the breaking news coverage of a school shooting on TV – with a “straight white men rule everything around me” poster hanging in the room, no less.
That is an absurdly accurate depiction of the experience of American Life – in these past few years, especially. Watching it back, it’s all the more absurd that it even is a part of life. I’ve lived that experience, too. I’m sure most people have. But it shouldn’t be normal.
As with most things Madonna, the video is a lot to process. The messaging is a lot to process. And yes, it absolutely does trigger the trauma that the queer community at large experienced three years ago this month. But the video (mercifully) steers away from glamorization or exploitation: instead, it’s an important, disturbing reminder that change needs to happen, still.
The Studio 54 euphoria of the song, mixed with the horrifying imagery of bloodied bodies hitting the floor, is exactly the kind of stomach-churning discomfort needed to convey the situation at hand: we feel helpless about the State of Things, we go out and dance to forget, and even the spaces we consider safest can be violated, violently so.
It’s deeply upsetting to watch – but then, it’s also not more than a mirror being held up to society. Madonna, as always, is one of the few pop stars willing to make such a bold message in her ongoing quest to fight for what she believes is right.
It’s time to wake up.
I made this video because I want to draw attention to a crisis that needs to be addressed. To me, this is the biggest problem in America right now. I cannot take it anymore.
Seeing the reality, and the brutality of things makes you wake up. This is really happening. This is what it looks like. Does it make you feel bad? Good, cause then maybe you will do something about it.
I send my children to school with the same fear every mother in this era has. As a mother, you feel protective and responsible for all of the children in the world. It’s really scary to me that the once-safe spaces where we gather, worship and learn are targets. Nobody’s safe. So of course, as a mother, I acutely feel the worry.
I would say this is what happens when people shoot. Understand that this is what happens. Guns kill. A bullet rips through your body, knocks you to the floor and takes your life, and you bleed to death. I mean, this is reality. People can watch it in action films, and they are okay with it, but when it is about the truth, the reality of what’s happening in our country, why is it too graphic?
It’s a call to action. Whatever you can offer, whatever you can contribute can be helpful. It’s twofold: It’s raising awareness and raising money to galvanize, organize and get s— done. My responsibility is to use my voice to affect change in the world.
Read the full article on People.com.
And here’s to more American and English press: