Madonna on Jonathan Ross Presents in 1992. (Screen capture via YouTube)
Aeons ago, Madonna invented the ability for humans to hear so that we could listen to her music and her latest blessing to the world was her collaboration with Dua Lipa, Missy Elliott and The Blessed Madonna.
For Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” remix, Madonna offered her kaleidoscopic vocals only days before turning 62. As a result, the highest-grossing female artist of all time… weathered criticism from Twitter users – many with Zain Malik display pictures – because she is “old”.
Madonna has emerged in recent decades as something of a warrior against age discrimination. In 2016, she delivered a lacerating speech against the bias she’s faced for apparently deigning to age as a woman and taking pride in remaining a force in an industry that, she said, sees ageing as a “sin”.
“I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around,” she said in her acceptance speech for a Woman of the Year award at the Billboard Women in Music 2016.
But Madonna has faced stale jabs about her age for decades and as many celebrate what the singer means to them on her birthday, some have recalled how she was forced to fight the pernicious idea that older women don’t matter when she was aged just 34.
Madonna: ‘What are you just supposed to die when you’re 40?’
In 1992, Madonna appeared on BBC1’s Jonathan Ross Presents. The “Vogue” musician – a trailblazer of equipping her voice to her image – was quizzed by Jonathan Ross on whether, after years of battling stinging sexist criticism, she would do the same to ageism.
“Do you think perhaps that you will be someone who will challenge this kind of taboo of women losing their sexuality or not being seen as sexual animals as much when they get past 40?” Ross asked.
“I think that not only do we suffer from racism and sexism, but we also suffer from ageism,” Madonna hit back, seemingly defending her 62-year-old self some 28 years in advance.
“And that is that once you reach a certain age, you’re not allowed to be adventurous, you’re not allowed to be sexual and I think that’s rather hideous.
“I mean a lot of people have said: ‘Oh, that’s so pathetic, I hope she’s not still doing that in 10 years.’
“I mean, who cares? What if I am? I mean, Is there a rule?
“What are you just supposed to die when you’re 40? That’s basically what everybody wants people to do.
“I think it’s stupid. Put yourself out to pasture? Why? Life is long – people are living to be 100 years old – I don’t get it.”
Well, if you need us, we’ll be streaming “Levitating (feat. Madonna and Missy Elliot)”.