Madonna rings in 2019 with surprise appearance at Stonewall Inn
Madonna stepped in at Stonewall Inn — the bar in New York’s Greenwich Village where the riots that kicked off the modern LGBTQ movement took place in 1969, and rang in 2019 with a short speech reflecting on the anniversary of the gay liberation movement.
Wearing black jeans, a black shirt, a black leather jacket with glittering chains and a shiny bow in her hair, Madonna took the tiny stage saying:
I just wanna say I’ve never performed on a stage this small!
You survived 2018? Are you happy to say ‘Goodbye bitch’?
I do have some serious words to share with you. Because for me tonight is a historical evening, and a historical moment. 2019 is the year I start wearing glasses, ok? I see you.
I stand here proudly at the place where pride began, the legendary Stonewall Inn, on the birth of a new year. We come together tonight to celebrate 50 years of revolution, 50 years of freedom fighting, 50 years of blood, sweat, and tears, can i get an amen? 50 years of sacrifice, 50 years of standing up to discrimination, hatred, and worst of all indifference. And all started here, at Stonewall. Let us never forget the Stonewall riots and those who bravely stood up and said “enough!”
Enough brutality, enough violence inflicted of this community. Enough stigmatism, enough oppression, enough pain and suffering.
For years, violent and humiliating police raids forcome in occurrance at gay sanctuaries across the country. Discrimination and unjust treatment was beyond comprehension. No gathering place for the LGBTQ community was truly safe and our brothers and sisters before us weren’t free to celebrate as we are tonight, and we must never forget that.
A half a century later, Stonewall’s become a defying moment and a critical turning point in history, catapulting LGBT rights into public conversation and conciousness and awakening gay activism, giving birth to the civil rights movement of the 21th century.
Now you can’t imagine how happy I am to return home, to New York City, my beautiful city, where dreams are born and forged out of fire and brought to life, where I am proud to say that my journey as an artist began, and my commitment to equality for all people took root. As a lifelong ally I have had the priviledge of using my art as a vehicle for change, to provoke, to inspire, to wake people up and to bring the LGBTQ community with me. Are you with me?
There is so much destruction in the world, but you cannot stop art. And creation always wins in the end.
So as we move forward, let’s not forget the work that we had to do from the ground up. We must never forget where we’ve been, the challenges and the road blocks along the way. We must never forget where we came from.
This movement was born out of the need to surive. Survive discrimination and hatred. But why do people hate? Yes, right, fear of the unknow.
But if we look and we truly take the time to get to know one another we will find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved. When we stand here together tonight let’s remember who we are fighting for and what we are fighting for. We are fighting for ourselves, yes, we are fighting for each other, yes, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for? We are fighting for love! Thank you, people: we are fighting for love!
So let’s take a moment to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019. In this new year let’s commit to disarming people with unexpected acts of kindness. Let’s become more intuitive. Share what you know with someone you don’t agree with! Thing about that! Try it! Get outside of your comfort zone! Let’s try to be more forgiving! Maybe we can find an opening to let the light come in. Let’s close up the distance between one human being and another. Are you ready to do that? I said are you ready to do that!?
I walk in the shadow of giants, our freedom fighters who have gone before me. But let’s be giants ourselves! Let’s be giants and carry each other on our shoulders into the new year and into a future of love and undestanding. Are you ready?
People expected something a week ago when Stonewall Inn announced that Madonna had been named an ambassador for the 50th anniversary celebrations. However, they may not have expected it quite so soon. On New Year’s Eve, word leaked out that Madonna would be making an appearance, and not long after midnight, she did, performing Like A Prayer as well as Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love and her very own accompanied by her 13-year-old son David Banda on acoustic guitar.