In an impassioned Instagram post shared Tuesday, Madonna addressed chatter over her face, which bubbled up on social media after she took the stage to introduce a performance of "Unholy" by Sam Smith and Kim Petras — the latter of whom became the first out trans woman in history to win in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance award at the event.
"Instead of focusing on what I said in my speech, which was about giving thanks for the fearlessness of artists like Sam and Kim, many people chose to only talk about close-up photos of me taken with a long-lens camera by a press photographer that would distort anyone's face!!" Madonna wrote alongside a series of images showing her celebrating with Smith and Petras. "Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in. A world that refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45 and feels the need to punish her if she continues to be strong-willed, hard-working, and adventurous."
Madonna noted that, throughout her life, she has "never apologized for any of the creative choices" she's made that have rocked pop-cultural standards — including her steadfast support for the queer community, pushing the boundaries of sexuality in her art, and using music to criticize American government and culture, as she did with her controversial 2003 album, American Life.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Madonna slammed ageism after introducing Sam Smith and Kim Petras at the 2023 Grammys.
"I'm not going to start," Madonna continued. "I have been degraded by the media since the beginning of my career, but I understand that this is all a test, and I am happy to do the trailblazing so that all the women behind me can have an easier time in the years to come. In the words of Beyoncé, 'You won't break my soul.' I look forward to many more years of subversive behavior, pushing boundaries, standing up to the patriarchy, and most of all enjoying my life."
Madonna is currently working on bringing highlights from her 40-year career on the road with her upcoming Celebration world tour, which kicks off in July with RuPaul's Drag Race season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen, who recently told EW how he met the global icon.
"Lola, her daughter, recommended me for her Pride show — recommended that I host the show, actually," Bob said of his first encounter with Madonna. "When I got there, me and Madonna got close. It was my birthday at the time. She got me cupcakes and sang me 'Happy Birthday.'"
Read Madonna's response to critics of her looks in the Instagram post above.
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