Madonna Reflects on How Different It Was to Flash Her 'Butt Cheek' at the VMAs in the '80s

·2 min read

Body positivity — and our appetite for seeing the human body, in general — has come a long way in recent years, and it’s often been celebrities on the front lines pushing those boundaries, from Kim Kardashian breaking the internet with her 2014 Paper Magazine shoot to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s iconic WAP music video. Industry veteran Madonna attested to this fact while discussing how, in her words, flashing a ‘butt cheek’ at the 1984 MTV awards nearly ended her career, and commenting that it’s “the opposite” of how things are today.

The 63-year-old recalled the wardrobe mishap during an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

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“I walked down these very steep stairs of the wedding cake and I got to the bottom and started dancing around and my white stiletto pumps fell off,” she said “I was trying to do this smooth move, like, dive for the shoe and look like it was choreography and my dress flipped up and my butt was showing.”

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The singer added that when she went backstage following her performance, her manager was not pleased and told her that her career was over.

“I didn’t even know my butt cheek was showing,” she said. “It wasn’t even like the whole butt. It was just like a butt cheek, like half a butt cheek.”

“Those were the days when you shouldn’t show your butt to have a career. Now it’s the opposite,” she joked.

Needless to say, her manager’s predictions were far from accurate. The singer, who is dubbed the Queen of Pop, has been awarded six grammies, two Golden Globes, and she joined Fallon this week on the show to promote her remix album Finally Enough Love, which was released to celebrate her 50 Billboard chart toppers. No one keeps Madonna down — but few have been around in the industry long enough to really register how far we’ve come, from days when a wardrobe malfunction like hers (or Janet Jackson’s!) could completely end a career, to days when Instagram nudes are a regular feature of celebrity Instagrams.

Before you go, click here to see which other stars got naked on camera. 

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