Madonna has never been one to shy away from controversy in her career, and her new music video for God Control is no exception to that rule.
The video, which is almost eight and a half minutes long, shows graphic and disturbing scenes from a nightclub shooting, including a frame where the gunman shoots himself and a sequence where Madonna is being mugged and assaulted at gunpoint.
Intense doesn’t even begin to describe it.
The video is upfront with you that the scenes within it are disturbing, as a warning flashes in typewriter font. The timeline for the video is skewed, with it opening up to club-goers laying in pools of their own blood, shot down, and screaming.
Madonna herself is seen with a blonde bob dancing at one point towards the middle of the video, flashing a smile that makes you wonder how to get white teeth like hers and rocking a pair of bellbottoms she probably owned in her younger days.
God Control isn’t the only song on the album with political undertones. Madonna has always been outspoken about her beliefs and continues to put it in her songs as she gets older and bolder.
“I Rise” is also on Madame X, and features a sample from Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Madonna has said in past interviews that the gun control issues are close to her heart because she has six children and fears for them. How can she let them live their lives if no public gathering place is safe?
Madame X hit number 1 on US Billboard charts, marking Madonna’s ninth number 1 since the start of her career. It is her 14th studio album.
A survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida has already spoken about how the video makes her feel. Patience Carter was there when 49 people were killed and another 53 were injured and said that the video reminds her of that night. “It was really hard to watch,” She explained.
Shannon Watts, who founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 says she appreciates Madonna and other artists who use their voice and fame to change the things around them.
Madonna’s goal with videos like God Control and songs like I Rise is to get people motivated and moving on important issues. She says this is a cause that anyone can get involved in, in any number of ways – from art to activism and more.
One thing is for sure. The video is graphic and intense. Some people might find it hard to watch. But Madonna isn’t wrong – these things are happening in the US, as evidenced by how difficult the video was for Patience Carter to watch. Whether Madonna’s input can make a difference in legislation or mobilizing those around her is yet to be seen.