Madonna is not only a goddess to countless gay men for championing queer sexuality and HIV compassion throughout the ‘90s, she also holds the world record as the best selling female recording artist of all time. Despite that, the next generation of young children may not be familiar with her work. So the web series Kids React showed a group of kids (ages eight to 11) her older videos — including some pretty racy ones. And when kids react to Madonna, their reactions show that the younger generation understands her pop-power and political appeal, no matter their age.
It’s interesting that most of the young kids vaguely recognize her music and face, even if they can’t quite place her. It’s either that she permeates American culture to such a degree that even people who can’t identify her are still influenced by her work or that her music has such an appeal that it makes people feel like they know her, even if they really don’t.
The video’s producers show the kids “Material Girl” (1984), “Express Yourself” (1989), “Like a Prayer” (1989), “Vogue” (1990), “Say Goodbye” (1994), “Ray of Light” (1998) and “Music” (2000).
Here’s the video showing the kids react to Madonna:
Early into the video, the producers turn on Madonna’s video for “Express Yourself” — a video, you may recall, which features a good amount of cone bra, crotch grabbing, Marlene Dietrich-style cross-dressing and shirtless construction workers bareknuckle fighting in the rain.
The producers don’t include these racier moments in the video. And while some of the raw sexuality goes over their heads, two of the young girls notice that both this and the “Material Girl” videos both show Madonna surrounded by men. And they wonder why. It’s called sex, kids. Don’t worry, you probably won’t learn about it in school. Ask your parents.
The kids aren’t entirely sure what to make of Madonna’s appearance in a church for her “Like a Prayer” video, but that makes sense considering that many viewers at the time didn’t know what to make of its racial and religious themes back when it was released.
Regardless, the kids are undeniably impressed (or at least challenged) by what they see. Even if they’re not sold on her musical talent, they’re impressed by the uniqueness of her videos, the work she puts into her choreography and the style she embodies throughout her work.
When the video producers ask the kids why they think people have enjoyed Madonna’s music for nearly three decades, they say that it’s probably because of her catchy tunes, the variety or her musical styles, the innovativeness in her videos and the fact that many of her songs (even her slower, moodier ballads) are inspirational.
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One child says, “It’s pretty cool how you can see someone change. They get to express themselves in their own way…. They don’t let their fans control who they are.” And another simply states, “Good music never fades.”
Featured image via “Kids React to Madonna”