I have to be careful on how I write this. Judging by emails, tweets, and comments, over half of Pop Music Scandal readers are Madonna fans. We don’t dislike Madonna AT ALL, but think her past five years — at least since the release of MDNA — have been, well, reductive.
When we reported that Madge was in talks to do a duet with Katy Perry, we noted that Madonna is far more talented than she is given credit for. We also said something controversial that upset her fans: Madonna needs to embrace her age, NOT RUN AWAY FROM IT. Yeah, we know — ageism this and ageism that. You can do better Madge.
That said we weren’t entirely upset (nor entirely happy) when Billboard decided to name Madonna “Woman of the Year” in 2016. We can reveal that Madonna didn’t pay ONE CENT for this title, unlike some other artist. Her manager Guy Oseary has campaigned for this title since 2012, but it’s only this year that Billboard agreed.
Madonna is almost never given credit for her influence in music (when she used to make good records), and, especially, her influence in LGBT rights. Millennials don’t want to believe something existed unless there is an app for it on their iPhone, but there was a time, just twenty years ago, when the LGBT community was treated like trash…PURE TRASH!
Madonna risked her career to stand up for the gay community. No, she didn’t meet with any politicians, but most politicians couldn’t even say the word “gay” in the 1980’s or early 1990’s without suffering a backlash. Madonna suffered a backlash, but she also guaranteed she would have a dedicated following till the day she dies. So it’s great that Billboard is recognizing an older woman whose influence has spread far beyond music.
However, this is the year 2016…184.108.40.206! Sorry Madonna stans, but can you name something she did this year that would qualify for “Woman of the Year”? Yeah, there was the Rebel Heart Tour, where she started shows two hours later than scheduled (some would argue that at least she performed despite her horrible family situation). There was that awful Prince tribute. There was that time she dressed up in the worst outfit ever and claimed it was for all for “women’s rights.” Yeah, there was that awesome performance of “Borderline” on the Tonight Show. But 2016 was NOT Madonna’s year.
Listen, Madonna stans — we are not saying that 2017 won’t be Madonna’s year. 2018 may even be a great year for her, just like 2005 and 1998 were. Billboard should change the name of the award to the “Women’s Lifetime Achievement Award” this year since that’s pretty much what they are giving Madonna the award for. But an award with the numbers “2016” should be given to Beyonce or Adele, two women who truly did rule 2016.
Main Photo: Graham Denholm/Getty Images