Like A Prayer Music Video Analysis

This essay has a total of 900 words and 4 pages.

Like A Prayer Music Video Analysis


Madonna first arrived in the national popular culture in 1984 with her song "Borderline".
She moved very quickly in the ensuing years to make several records (many of which have
gone multi-platinum) and to take several world tours with sold-out concerts, and has
caused quite a bit of controversy in what she has done in the public 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 Sean Penn,
creating a fashion trend (which was primarily popular with teenage girls), and making
truly atrocious movies which the critics hated and the people refused to see (the only two
exceptions are Dick Tracy and Truth or Dare, her controversial yet fascinating
self-documentary about her tour of the same name). It seems that Madonna seems to enjoy
attention, good or bad, and it seems like she feeds on her own controversy. Her songs, and
the music videos which accompany them, are no exception to this. However, the things she
does and the images she projects requests contemporary society to reflect on itself, and
to possibly re-create itself in innovative and inventive styles. Perhaps she always breaks
with convention because she sees things in a different light than the rest of society.
This essay shall focus on the video which accompanies the title track from her 1989 album,
"Like A Prayer," which certainly had its share of controversy.


Probably the most startling image in the music video was that of several burning crosses
on a lawn or a hill. These crosses were in the background, while Madonna was facing the
camera and singing. When I saw the music video for the first time, this particular section
of the video made me sit up and intently watch my television screen. The first things I
thought about were, "She's a very outspoken woman for doing this! Boy, she's got a lot of
nerve! I believe she was raised Catholic, and she's making a mockery of the Catholic
Church by doing so! The Pope would be offended, to say the least!" The radical approach to
dispose of any religion (or a person's religious or pious fervor) is at least shocking.
The cross is the symbol of Christianity and all it stands for. Seeing the cross engulfed
in fire -- which symbolizes (and is) a destructive force -- would be very disturbing for
anyone to see, Christian or not. I sat up and took notice, and I'm not even Christian -- I
am Jewish. Furthermore, the fact that Madonna is singing in front of the crosses (and
consequently, not doing anything to stop the crosses burning) implies that she condones
cross-burning. This thought asks three questions. Does she also condone the Ku Klux Klan,
which also burns crosses? Does she like the idea of religion and/or atheism in any way at
all? Does Madonna believe in God? These are all very deep and probing questions, which can
only be answered truthfully by Madonna herself.


Another small piece of the music video showed Madonna kissing a black man. While I
personally feel that love is blind and has no boundaries, a vast majority of America
cocked an eyebrow to this scene. In recent years, a television situation comedy and a
major motion picture have both built on interracial relationships as the core of the
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