In 1990, pop superstar Madonna released "Justify My Love." Despite reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100, the single was censored on networks like MTV for its sexually explicit lyrics, themes, and video.
Right in the midst of the controversy, Madonna went on ABC News to defend her video, delivering a message about human sexuality that's still very relevant today.
Madonna's words were ahead of their time:
Madonna Nightline Interview December 3, 1990 youtu.be
When asked about the possibility of a 10-year-old child turning on MTV and seeing her music video, which features Madonna being seduced into a threesome in a hotel room, she responded that anything that started an open dialogue about sex between parents and their children was a positive step.
MTV also took issue with Madonna openly displaying her nipples in 1990, a controversy that persists to this day in other forms. Tumblr recently enraged its user base by banning absolutely all images of "female presenting nipples" in an attempt to purge its site of NSFW content.
When further asked about the "adult content" in her video, Madonna replied with sarcasm:
"I think MTV should have their violence hour and I think they should have their degradation to women hour. If we're going to have censorship, let's not be hypocrites about it. Let's not have double standards. We already have these videos that have violence and show degradation to women being shown 24 hours a day, but yet they don't want a video playing that deals with sex between two consenting adults."
Madonna - Justify My Love www.youtube.com
Fans loved Madonna's take on sexuality, surprisingly relevant years before its time!
And, at the end of the day, her approach to sexuality paid huge dividends.
Madonna was, is, and will always be pop royalty. Though we likely haven't come as far as she hoped, the world owes her a debt of gratitude for starting conversations about human sexuality we weren't willing to have before.
Madonna - Secret www.youtube.com
Madonna - Erotica (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com