An Analysis Of The Video “Like A Prayer” By MadonnaAn Analysis of the Video “Like A Prayer” by MadonnaMadonna first arrived in the national popular culture in 1984 withher song “Borderline”. She moved very quickly in the ensuing yearsto make several records (many of which have gone multi-platinum)and to take several world tours with sold-out concerts, and hascaused quite a bit of controversy in what she has done in thepublic eye. Examples include posing nude for Penthouse magazine(and announcing afterwards that she was not ashamed for doing it),marrying (and subsequently divorcing) actor and media-avoider SeanPenn, creating a fashion trend (which was primarily popular withteenage girls), and making truly atrocious movies which thecritics hated and the people refused to see (the only twoexceptions are Dick Tracy and Truth or Dare, her controversial yetfascinating self-documentary about her tour of the same name). Itseems that Madonna seems to enjoy attention, good or bad, and itseems like she feeds on her own controversy. Her songs, and themusic videos which accompany them, are no exception to this.However, the things she does and the images she projects requestscontemporary society to reflect on itself, and to possiblyre-create itself in innovative and inventive styles.
Perhaps shealways breaks with convention because she sees things in adifferent light than the rest of society. This essay shall focuson the video which accompanies the title track from her 1989album, “Like A Prayer,” which certainly had its share ofcontroversy.Probably the most startling image in the music video was that ofseveral burning crosses on a lawn or a hill. These crosses were inthe background, while Madonna was facing the camera and singing.When I saw the music video for the first time, this particularsection of the video made me sit up and intently watch mytelevision screen. The first things I thought about were, “She’s avery outspoken woman for doing this! Boy, she’s got a lot ofnerve! I believe she was raised Catholic, and she’s making amockery of the Catholic Church by doing so! The Pope would beoffended, to say the least!” The radical approach to dispose ofany religion (or a person’s religious or pious fervor) is at leastshocking. The cross is the symbol of Christianity and all itstands for.
Seeing the cross engulfed in fire — which symbolizes(and is) a destructive force — would be very disturbing foranyone to see, Christian or not. I sat up and took notice, and I’mnot even Christian — I am Jewish. Furthermore, the fact thatMadonna is singing in front of the crosses (and consequently, notdoing anything to stop the crosses burning) implies that shecondones cross-burning. This thought asks three questions. Doesshe also condone the Ku Klux Klan, which also burns crosses? Doesshe like the idea of religion and/or atheism in any way at all?Does Madonna believe in God? These are all very deep and probingquestions, which can only be answered truthfully by Madonnaherself.Another small piece of the music video showed Madonna kissing ablack man. While I personally feel that love is blind and has noboundaries, a vast majority of America cocked an eyebrow to thisscene.
In recent years, a television situation comedy and a majormotion picture have both built on interracial relationships as thecore of the storyline. “True Colors” was on the Fox Network, builtaround a black man married to a white woman. Spike Lee’s movie”Jungle Fever” also had a black man and a white woman. Lee’sreason why he did a story of a black man and a white woman (andnot a white man and a black woman) was that the white woman hasbeen stereotyped to be the essence of all beauty, and that theblack man has been stereotyped to be a stud.
(It is true thatfilms and television shows have been made which focused onrelationships between white men and black women; an example is thefilm “Soul Man.”) Does Madonna have any feelings for men of