The Ciampino Speech
30 years ago Madonna was touring Europe with her most famous concert ever, the Blond Ambition Tour, a show that generated excitment, and controversy all over the world.
On July 10th, 1990 Madonna performed at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome, the first of two concerts in Italy that Summer.
The show was welcomed by an extra dose of controversy in the country, with a criticism to which Madonna responded with the now-famous Vatican speech she addressed the press with when she had just landed in Rome’s Ciampino airport the day before.
30 years later, many things have changed, but many also haven’t at all.
(I want full silence or I will not speak)
I’m an Italian American and I’m proud of it.
Proud of being an American because it is the country I grew up in, the country that gave me the opportunities to be who I am today, and a country that believes in freedom of speech and artistic expression.
I am also proud of being an Italian because it is my father’s heritage and because it is the reason that I am passionate about the things that I believe in.
It is also the reason my blood boils when I am misunderstood or unfairly judged for my beliefs.
I am aware that the Vatican and certain Catholic communities are accusing my show of being sinful and blasphemous. That they are trying to keep people from seeing it.
(Basta per favore!)
If you are sure that I am a sinner, then let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.
If you are not sure, then I beg of you, as righteous men and women of the Catholic Church that worship a God who loves unconditionally, to see my show and then judge me.
My show is not a conventional rock show but a theatrical presentation of my music.
And like theater it asks questions, provokes thoughts and takes you on an emotional journey, portraying good and bad, light and dark, joy and sorrow, redemption and salvation.
I do not endorse a way of life but describe one, and the audience is left to make its own decisions and judgments.
This is what I consider freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought.
To prevent me from performing my show, you, the Catholic Church, are saying that you do not belive in these freedoms.
If you do not believe in these freedoms you are imprisoning everyone’s mind. When a mind is imprisoned then our spiritual light dies. When the spirit dies there is no reason to live.
Every night before I go on stage I say a prayer, not only that my show will go well, but that the audience will watch with an open heart and an open mind and see it as a celebration of love, life and humanity.
Sono molto felice di essere qui.