Madonna released a new video last night for another track from her Madame X album. The hard hitting, eight-minute video for God Control features graphic scenes of a mass shooting in a nightclub. It also shows the singer mugged at gunpoint.
Although titled God Control, the song is a direct comment on the attitude towards gun control in the US.
‘When they talk reforms, it makes me laugh, they pretend to help, it makes me laugh,’ Madonna sings. Other lyrics state the song is a ‘wake-up call.’
Madonna is known for provocative visuals. Until now, her video for Like A Prayer in 1989 was considered her most controversial. In it, she danced against a backdrop of burning crucifixes and kissed an actor playing a statue of Christ come to life.
Warning of graphic violence
However, Gun Control finds her exploring the horror of unregulated gun ownership.
The video offers a warning at the beginning stating that it contains graphic scenes that may distress. These include a lone shooter spraying people in a nightclub with bullets.
Comparisons with the Pulse nightclub shooting of 2016, in which 49 people lost their lives, are unavoidable.
The video also offers facts about the number of people killed each year by guns. This includes approximately 36,000 in the US alone. A further 100,000 are injured. In the UK, where guns are outlawed, between 21-32 people died annually from gun violence over the last six years.
Frequent video collaborator Jonas Åkerlund directed the film.
In a comment accompanying the video on YouTube, Madonna states: ‘This is your wake up call. Gun violence disproportionately affects children, teenagers and the marginalized in our communities. Honor the victims and demand GUN CONTROL. NOW.
‘Volunteer, stand up, donate, reach out. Wake up and insist on common-sense gun safety legislation. Innocent lives depend on it.’
She goes on to list organizations working to bring about tougher gun control legislation, including Gays Against Guns, Sandy Hook Promise, Trans Equality and One Pulse For America.
Reaction from Madonna fans
The video has prompted thousands of comments online. Many fans have been moved by the powerful message.
‘She hasn’t put something out this powerful in a long time,’ commented Ramon Olivas.
‘So powerful! Never been a fan of Madonna because we are two different generations, but so much respect for her music and message,’ says Ninotska Love.
However, not all reactions have been positive. A survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting, Patience Carter, told TMZ, she found the video ‘traumatic’ and ‘insenstive.’
‘It was grossly accurate to what I witnessed that night.’
She said the warning at the beginning of the video needs to be stronger and specifically warn survivors of gun violence not to watch.
On Twitter, Carter went further.
She tweeted: ‘I couldn’t even watch after the first 45 secs @Madonna There are so many creative avenues that could’ve been taken to bring awareness to gun control. The Victims of these mass shootings should always be taken into consideration. I applaud the attempt, but I am truly disturbed.’
I couldn’t even watch after the first 45 secs @Madonna There are so many creative avenues that could’ve been taken to bring awareness to gun control. The Victims of these mass shootings should always be taken into consideration. I applaud the attempt, but I am truly disturbed. https://t.co/n8VO2KfpNR
— Patience Murray (@PaeCarter) June 26, 2019
Madonna partners with National LGBTQ Task Force
At the same time as the video’s release, more details emerged of Madonna’s work in this area.
The National LGBTQ Task Force announced a new partnership with Madonna’s Ray of Light Foundation ‘to grow its violence prevention work, especially as it affects transgender women of color.’
‘The National LGBTQ Task Force creates the spaces and conditions for LGBTQ people to live free, to be you!’ says Rea Carey, Executive Director. ‘In order for us to move towards a day when we can be all of ourselves, all of the time, we must eradicate violence, including gun violence. The Task Force centers the most vulnerable in our communities to create safety and develop solutions.’
In a statement, Madonna added, ‘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.’
Madonna is the sixth track from Madame X Madonna has issued a video for, following Medellín, I Rise, Crave, Future and Dark Ballet. The album, her 14th studio album, became available 14 June. It entered the Billboard album chart at number one last week: her ninth studio album to achieve this feat.
Madonna performs at the Pride Island event in Manhattan this weekend, part of the city’s World Pride festivities.