Swastikas, fake guns and flashing, oh my! Madonna's MDNA tour has gotten the singer tons of press — not to mention a few enemies, including a Russian civil rights group, an entire arena of French fans and Elton John.
In an open letter, written in a free-verse style and released to Billboard.com, Madonna explained the more controversial components of her tour, which garnered such harsh criticism.
"My show/Is a journey/The journey from darkness to light," Madonna begins before defending her use of fake guns.
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"It's true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns —but they are used as metaphors," she writes. "I do not condone violence or the use of guns. Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging.
"Ultimately as we follow through the journey of my story, the audience can see quite clearly what I see —that the enemy is within and the only way to survive Disappointment Disapproval Judgment Heartbreak Jealousy Envy And Hatred Is with Love - not with revenge - not with guns and not with violence," she continues.
What's happened to Madonna?
Madonna then describes the multiple roles she takes on throughout the performance to illustrate this message. "When you watch a film there are usually good guys and bad guys to help illustrate this point," she says. "Sometimes I play both."
According to the singer, if one watches her show "with an open heart from beginning to end" the viewer will become "inspired, invigorated and will want to make the world a better place. And this of course was always my intention."
What do you think of Madonna's explanation?