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This Week Madonna Celebrated 30 Years Since the Release of ‘Like a Prayer’ Editors' Picks

This Week Madonna Celebrated 30 Years Since the Release of ‘Like a Prayer’

Written by Stephan Horbelt on March 06, 2019
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Earlier this week marked the 30th anniversary of one of Madonna’s most popular songs, and so the pop music icon took to social media to remember one of her biggest hits. She also paid tribute to the “Like A Prayer” anniversary by recalling all the drama surrounding the controversial music video.

Monday, March 4 was technically the “Like A Prayer” anniversary, and the following day Madonna took to her Instagram account to pay tribute.

“30 years ago today I released Like a Prayer and made a video that caused so much controversy because I kissed a black saint and danced in front of burning crosses!” reads the post. “I also made a commercial with PEPSI that was banned because my video was seen as inappropriate. 🔥🔥🔥Happy Birthday to Me and Controversy! #likeaprayer 🙏🏼 meant to post this yesterday but was blocked! 😂 what a shocker!”

The music video for the hit song — the lead single of Madonna’s fourth album, also titled “Like A Prayer” — was directed by Mary Lambert. In it Madonna played the witness to a murder by white supremacists, though a black man was arrested for the crime.

The video is probably most recognized for the scenes shot inside a church, as Madonna’s character has headed there for safety and to find strength to testify to what she witnessed. While there in the church, Madonna kisses a Black saint and dances with a Black choir. Later she dances in front of burning crosses.

The music video’s imagery eventually led to the Vatican’s condemnation of it, along with other religious groups. Because the song was being used in a Pepsi commercial at the time, there was a backlash against the soft drink manufacturer as well. The company dropped its Madonna deal shortly thereafter.

Tackling issues of race, racial hatred and religion/spirituality, this week’s “Like A Prayer” anniversary shows that song — particularly its music video — is more timely now than ever.

Can you believe it’s been 30 years since the release of Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”?

Featured image © Warner Bros.

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