Madonna is firing back at comments about her appearance at the Grammy Awards.
The pop icon, 64, and longtime LGBTQ advocate introduced Kim Petras and Sam Smith’s “Unholy” performance at Sunday’s show. It was a groundbreaking night as Petras became the first out transgender woman to win the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance along with Smith, who is nonbinary. However, social media was abuzz over Madonna’s fuller-looking face and speculating about what plastic surgery she’s had.
On Tuesday, the “Vogue” singer, a seven-time Grammy winner, responded to the gossip, saying that once again, she’s “caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in.”
Madonna wrote in an Instagram post that while she originally wanted to give the last award of the night, Album of the Year, she thought it was “more important” to introduce Petras and Smith’s performance, a “history-making moment.” She added, “And on top of that she won a Grammy!!”
“Instead of focusing on what I said in my speech, which was about giving thanks for the fearlessness of artists like Sam and Kim, many people chose to only talk about close-up photos of me taken with a long lens camera by a press photographer that would distort anyone’s face!!,” she wrote.
“Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in,” she continued. “A world that refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45 and feels the need to punish her if she continues to be strong willed, hard-working and adventurous.”
The singer said she has “never apologized for any of the creative choices I have made,” nor “the way that I look or dress” and “I’m not going to start” now.
“I’ve been degraded by the media since the beginning of my career but I understand that this is all a test and I am happy to do the trailblazing so that all the women behind me can have an easier time in the years to come,” she wrote.
She borrowed a line from Beyoncé, who also broke records at Sunday’s ceremony, writing, “You won’t break my soul.” Adding, “I look forward to many more years of subversive behavior – pushing boundaries -standing up to the patriarchy – and most of all enjoying my life.” Then she ended with another Bey line: “Bow down bitches!”
Onstage Sunday, Madonna began her intro by saying, “Here’s what I’ve learned after four decades in music. If they call you shocking, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative, or dangerous, you’re definitely onto something.”
She continued, “I’m here to give thanks to all the rebels out there, forging a new path and taking the heat for all of it. All you troublemakers out there, you need to know that your fearlessness does not go unnoticed. You are seen, you are heard and, most of all, you are appreciated.”
She ended with, “So now, speaking of controversy, it gives me great pleasure to introduce two incredibly talented artists who have risen above the noise, the doubt, the critics into something beautifully unholy. Here are two Grammy award winners: Sam Smith and Kim Petras.”
For music’s big night, Madonna was outfitted in a long black skirt with slit, black jacket, white shirt and tie — and she carried a riding crop. Her hair was styled in braids, accentuating her face. Social media was lit up with people making comments speculating about plastic surgery, pointing to exaggerated features and a wrinkle-free forehead. There were jokes about it being a Madonna impersonator, not the star, and the like.
Madonna’s appearance has been a talking point for years, as she’s been a superstar since the ’80s and has been lauded for continuously reinventing herself; she sparked a public dialogue in 2019 about whether she had derriere implants. Despite the chatter about her body, Madonna remains and one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. Last month, she announced her retrospective Madonna: The Celebration Tour, which spans 40 years of her career. Tickets for shows in New York, London and Paris sold out in minutes, with fans buying up 600,000 tickets in one day.