Madonna has never been one to shy away from controversy in her music videos, but her new clip for “God Control,” lensed by her frequent collaborator Jonas Åkerlund, may be her most shocking — and important — yet.
The unsettling and unflinching eight-minute opus actually opens with the gory aftermath of a mass shooting at a Pulse-like discotheque. Åkerlund then retraces Madonna’s steps throughout the evening as she watches a school shooting on the news, is held up at gunpoint on her way to the nightclub, and then boogies her cares away (in fun disco-dance sequences that recall 1992’s “Deeper and Deeper” and 2005’s “Hung Up”) before tragedy strikes.
The juxtaposition of scenes of carefree clubbing (set to Mirwais-produced retro-disco beats) with scenes of brutality and bloodshed is extremely chilling.
WARNING: VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS VERY GRAPHIC DEPICTIONS OF GUN VIOLENCE.
“Everybody knows the damn truth/ Our nation lied/We've lost respect/When we wake up/What can we do?/Get the kids ready/Take them to school/Everybody knows/They don't have a chance/To get a decent job/To have a normal life/When they talk reforms/It makes me laugh,” sings Madonna, a mother of six. Later she implores, “Blood of innocents spread everywhere/They say that we need love/But we need more than this.”
The video ends with a close-up of tears spilling down Madonna’s face, along with a call to action for viewers to support multiple organizations fighting for gun-safety legislation, including Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, March For Our Lives Foundation, Gays Against Guns, Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, One Pulse for America, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
In a statement released in conjunction with the video, Madonna explained, "I want to draw attention through my platform as an artist to a problem in America that is out of control and is taking the lives of innocent people. This crisis can end if our legislators act to change the laws that fail to protect us all."
“As a mother, you feel protective and responsible for all of the children in the world,” Madonna recently told People. “It’s really scary to me that the once-safe spaces where we gather, worship and learn are targets. Nobody’s safe. So of course, as a mother, I acutely feel the worry.”
This is not the only pro-gun control statement on Madonna’s new album, Madame X, which just debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. Another Madame X track, “I Rise,” features audio from a speech by Parkland shooting survivor and activist Emma González.
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