Why Madonna Burned Queer Rapper Mykki Blanco in Her New Video

"Dark Ballet" is the final preview track from "Madame X."

Did Madonna save the best for last?

The 60-year-old icon has released “Dark Ballet,” the fifth and final preview track from her upcoming 14th studio album, Madame X, following “I Rise,” “Crave,” “Future,” and “Medellín.”

Produced by longtime collaborator Mirwais, “Dark Ballet” doesn’t dance around oppression and discrimination. Likewise, the accompanying music video, directed by Emmanuel Adjei, highlights the patriarchy’s persecution of minorities with Mykki Blanco as Joan of Arc, seen bound and jailed, stripped and shaved, dancing in a gold corset and pleading with religious leaders, before finally being put to death.

“She fought the English and she won, still the French were not happy,” Madonna says about Joan of Arc in a statement. “Still they judged her. They said she was a man, they said she was a lesbian, they said she was a witch, and, in the end, they burned her at the stake, and she feared nothing. I admire that.”

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This video is the first time I have ever worked with a Black director, a genius of a man @emmanueladjei_ . . This video is the first time I have ever worked with a female owned and run production company. @wearereadytoshoot . . @madonna you lift people up, you understand where your achievements have placed you and you extend your hand, your mind and your heart and you UPLIFT! . I hope the messages and metaphors in this video are understood. I hope that people watch it, pause for a moment and reflect and watch it again. . The “Stigma” surrounding those living with HIV is all too real. ”Systematic Oppression” is not a “buzzword”. . “Institutional Racism” is not a “trending topic” . “Misogyny, Transphobia and Homophobia” are things we have to actively dismantle. We have to stay vigilant and unafraid to be militant when others may want us to appear palatable. . “DARK BALLET” ✨

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The release fittingly follows Madonna’s disappointment in a New York Times Magazine piece that she felt focused unfairly on her age and other trivial matters: “You cant fix society and its endless need to diminish,” she wrote on Instagram. “It makes me feel raped.”

Got a burning desire to know why Madonna tapped a queer rapper to play the legendary heroine? (Blanco, who previously “trans-identified,” rejected the idea of “one singular transgender narrative” in a 2017 Facebook post: “I am a Gay man but my Trans journey is who I am.”)

“She tells me, ‘Based on some of the things that you’ve told me you experienced in this industry and in this society, I feel that some of those things could be a modern day analogy for Joan,’” he tells Billboard of his conversation with Madonna. “‘Because think about if you had existed as you in her time—you would have been burned at the stake as well.’”

The “Dark Ballet” video ends with an inspirational message from Blanco: “I have walked this earth, Black, Queer and HIV positive, but no transgression against me has been as powerful as the hope I hold within.”

Blanco, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2011 and publicly revealed his status in 2015, joined Rosie O’Donnell and Anderson Cooper last month to present Madonna with the Advocate for Change Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. Madonna reflected on the AIDS crisis in her emotional speech.

Meanwhile, Madonna’s empowering new Pride anthem “I Rise” is a ballad about summoning the strength to survive life’s struggles. “I wrote ‘I Rise’ as a way of giving a voice to all marginalized people who feel they don’t have the opportunity to speak their mind,” Madonna said. “This year is the 50th anniversary of Pride and I hope this song encourages all individuals to be who they are, to speak their minds and to love themselves.”

It’s rumored that the music video for “I Rise” will also be a love letter to the LGBTQ community, featuring drag queens like Monét X Change. Don’t forget Madonna’s surprise New Year’s Eve appearance at Stonewall Inn.

It was announced last week that Madonna will appear in New York at Pride Island on Sunday, June 30, during Pride weekend.

Madame X, out June 14, is now available for pre-order. Her intimate Madame X Tour launches September 12 in New York.

Watch “Dark Ballet” below.
 

Celebrity interviewer. Foodie and Broadway buff in Manhattan. Hates writing bios.
@brandonvoss