Madonna at Brooklyn Museum Talk: "Trump Was Elected for a Reason"

Madonna at Brooklyn Museum Talk: "Trump Was Elected for a Reason"

The musician gave a hopeful speech as part of her panel with artist Marilyn Minter at the Brooklyn Museum last night.

The musician gave a hopeful speech as part of her panel with artist Marilyn Minter at the Brooklyn Museum last night.

Text: William Simmons

Rare is the artist who can call up Madonna, but feminist artist and activist Marilyn Minter did just that when she invited the musician for a pre-inauguration conversation at the Brooklyn Museum last night. The panel, moderated by poet and essayist Elizabeth Alexander (whose “Praise Song for the Day” was President Obama’s inaugural poem in 2009) and Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak, represented a powerful moment of reflection before Trump’s swearing in.

Madonna used Minter’s video Green Pink Caviar (2009) on her “Sticky and Sweet” tour, but the two have much more in common than a sick and sexy aesthetic. Both artists vowed to escape their suburban upbringings and make lives for themselves in New York’s avant-garde downtown scene. Madonna recalled, “My dance teacher was the first gay man I ever met. He introduced me to the idea of thinking outside the box,” and it was this formative instructor who encouraged her to move to the City. Minter, likewise, left Florida to become an artist. Her childhood inoculated her to any critics she would face. “They couldn’t touch my mother!” She quipped.

Since their youthful exoduses, Minter and Madonna have had wildly productive careers despite harrowing hardships, but for the moment, both icons seemed afraid. Minter admitted regarding Trump’s election, “This is the most frightened I have ever been, and I’ve watched Nixon, the AIDS crisis, and two Bushes.” She went on, “The only way I could feel better is by doing activism again.” Minter has been working closely with the activist group Dear Ivanka, as well as Planned Parenthood. Likewise, Madonna outlined her hopes for an activist future in her 2013 short film secretprojectrevolution that screened before the panel. In it, a disembodied male voice demands of her, “Show us your ass!” And Madonna replies, “OK, but I still want to start a revolution.” It is this kind of sex-positive feminism for which both Minter and Madonna are renowned, despite the criticism that both have received from other feminists for keeping sexuality at the heart of their work.

Madonna used her platform to bring a message of hope to difficult circumstances: "It had to happen. I do believe that Trump was elected for a reason: to show us how lazy and un-unified and lackadaisical we've become about our freedom. They say it's always darkest before the dawn. I feel like it had to happen to bring people together. Let's get the party started!"

Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images

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