Madonna MDNA tour Steven Klein Studio INC 2013
Photo copyright: Madonna MDNA tour Steven Klein Studio INC 2013

Madonna Turns 60 and Why It Matters

Madonna celebrates her birthday in Morocco.

Since the beginning of the early 80s, Madonna has been the shining beacon of hope for many women, LGBT and other minority groups globally. She has been leading the fight against oppression and paving the way for the others through her music, art and philanthropy. Today, the American-born Queen of Pop – as many would call her – is celebrating her 60th birthday. And while the mom of 6 is enjoying her special day, the media all across the globe are busy talking about her. I could go on about my eternal appreciation and love for this immaculate person, but I don’t want to bore you. Instead, I would like to point out the top 7 things I personally think make her the incredibly-valuable citizen of the world. 

AIDS activist. 

Yes, many winters ago, when there was no social media, and the Internet was limited to a connection between a few select computers, Madonna was out there speaking about then-new and taboo virus – AIDS. She had lost her close friend Martin Burgoyne in the 80s and kept on working and bringing awareness through interviews as well as her support to charities that fought against AIDS. She was not afraid to speak about it 30 years ago and she is not afraid to push the envelope today. 

Queen of charities. 

Speaking of charities, Madonna is an active supporter and donor to 30 charities that include causes such as AIDS & HIV, Animal Rights, Disaster Relief, Women Rights, Water, Education to name a few. She has also founded Raising Malawi with Michael Berg – a charity organisation that takes care of children through bringing education and community support into the African country. 

Queen of provocation. 

Ever since her 1983 MTV VMA performance of “Like A Virgin”, where she shocked everyone by rolling on the stage in a wedding dress, showing a bit too much of skin, Madonna has not stopped provoking the world for one reason or the other; be it empowering women or raising the issues of teenage pregnancy. She’s burned crosses in her “Like a Prayer” video, simulated masturbation during her Blond Ambition Tour, sang about teenage pregnancy and abortion in “Papa Don’t Preach”, released a book, conveniently titled “SEX” and have recently flashed a nipple during her MDNA show in a majority-Muslim Istanbul- just to name a few examples.

LGBT activist. 

Back in the time when being gay was greatly frowned upon, Madonna took LGBT to the world stage. From then-banned clip “Justify My Love” to her early 90s tour documentary “In Bed with Madonna” – Madonna has fought for equal rights from the start.  The 1999 Madonna tribute, where the culture of drag was for all to see on a mainstream channel was iconic. In short, Madonna played an immensely-important role in helping LGBT be accepted. 

Women’s rights. 

By embracing her own sexuality, Madonna has long been a strong advocate for women’s rights. Since she reached her fifties, Madonna has been facing strong criticism concerning her age, which exposed the strong prejudice of the entertainment industry against older women. In 2016, Billboard has awarded her with a Woman of the Year award. Her acceptance speech was unraveling and, at times, jaw-dropping. Here is a full video: 

Queen of reinvention. 

Madonna has remained relevant for 35 years. Let that sink in… How did she do it? Reinvention. Each album brought a new Madonna with the new sound, new look, new ideas. One cannot listen to “Ray of Light” and say it sounds the same as “Hard Candy.” Madonna has mastered the art of setting trends (Vogue, Confessions, Like A Virgin eras). She has worn some of the world’s most iconic fashion from Jean Paul Gaultier to Louis Vuitton.

Queen of Live Tours. 

Speaking of tours, Madonna is the highest-grossing solo touring artist in Billboard Boxscore history as of 2016. A glimpse of that below: 

She’s 60, so what?

So why does it matter that Madonna is 60? Progress. Yes, the progress of the modern society. She is the one through whom one can see the change of perception of women and their image. She was one of the first to embrace LGBT and go against the social stigmas of the time. She’s the one who helped build 14 schools for children in Malawi; and she does more than the media talks about.

Here is to many more years! Thank You and Happy Birthday, Madonna!