Like A Prayer Analysis

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Chapter 4: Madonna’s most controversial video: “Like a Prayer”

One might consider it a dangerous thing to address God especially in a popular cultural context, but artists tend to make an effort to push the boundaries of religious themes. Madonna did the same thing and invited the protest of the Christian community. (Doyle, 2008) Like a Prayer, a religious-themed video was banned by the American Family Association and a fundamentalist religious group as they protested that it was offensive. (Doyle, 2008) At the same time, the Vatican also censured it and many people also rejected the video because of the inappropriate sexuality and the blasphemy. Yet the music video became popular because Madonna was brave enough to point out how - in order
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The combination of sex and religion are oppositional for many people. Linking them is the most obvious postmodern feature of the video: for example, the setting is a church as well as a field. The most controversial moment is when Madonna is singing in front of burning crosses. These crosses are in the background, while Madonna is facing the camera singing. The cross is obviously the symbol of Christianity, but seeing the cross covered with fire (which symbolizes a destructive force) would be very disturbing for anyone to see not depending on their religious views. Furthermore, the singer Madonna does not do anything to stop the crosses burning. The controversy itself helped sell the record. According to Freccero's statement: ‘‘Madonna is a multi-millionaire, and she is selling her work.’’ (Freccero, 1992: 177)
Freccero adds that this melodramatic morality play can be read as woman’s disempowerment in relation to a religious tradition which is displayed by a story about how a white woman; with the help of a female Black divinity, saves a Black man who is charged of a crime. Madonna presents the play as an Italian- American migrant daughter within the patriarchal family, church and state and played out a feminine fantasy of resolution, redemption and salvation. ‘‘The video suggests Madonna’s rebellion against this entrapment by presenting an image of a successful heroine.’’ (Freccero, 1992:
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Guld, Ádám. Spring 2009, A Madonna-jelenség és a sztárság konstituálódása a posztmodern médiában,17-33 available at: http://ww.mediakutato.hu/cikk/2009_01_tavasz/02_madonna-jelenség_es_sztarsag access: 03/09/2013
Kaplan, E. Ann. 1987. Rocking Around the Clock: Music Television, Postmodernism, and Consumer Culture. New York: Methuen
Kellner, Douglas. 1995. Media Culture, New York and London: Routledge
“Madonna on Religion” YouTube, interview, 2006. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkDvFA6mVWs Access :28/04/14
“Madonna speaks about Marriage, Religion and her Critics.” 2010 YouTube, interview, Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnvBjQ0F9rs

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