Madonna isn’t done doing damage control over the uproar caused by her adoption of an African boy.
After sitting down with Oprah last week via satellite (see “Madonna Tells Oprah Media Has Spun False Story Over Adoption” ), the singer will appear on “Today” on Wednesday (November 1) and Thursday. Her “Dateline NBC” interview will air on Wednesday, and in it she talks about the controversy, calls the reaction “racist” and reveals that the boy’s father turned down her offer of financial help.
In an interview with NBC News’ Meredith Vieira, Madonna said people have made “uneducated decisions” and jumped to conclusions by criticizing her decision to adopt David, a 13-month-old boy from Malawi. “With all the chaos, pain and suffering in the world, the fact that my adoption of a child … was the number one story for a week in the world … says more about … our inability to focus on the real problems,” Madonna said.
While Madonna would like to attribute most of the attention the adoption has caused to “our desire to have distractions and be consumed with people’s personal lives and gossip,” she fears that something darker is at work as well.
“I think [racism] is underneath a lot of people’s prejudice about me adopting David,” Madonna said. “I think a lot of people have a problem with the fact that I’ve adopted an African child, a child who has a different color skin than I do. … I think it’s still considered taboo. You know, I have people say to me on the streets, ‘Why did you adopt a black child?’ I don’t say anything. I don’t dignify their question with a reply. But there is a lot of racism in the world.”
Regardless, Madonna’s not worried because she plans to raise David as she does her other children, 6-year-old Rocco and 10-year-old Lourdes. “I don’t live in a white world,” Madonna said. “I live in the world. And my children are exposed to all cultures and all races and many belief systems.”
Which means that David will be raised not as a Christian or a Jew but with a mixture from many belief systems, even though Madonna plans to make sure that Kabbalah is one of them.
“Studying Kabbalah doesn’t mean you can’t be a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Jew or whatever or agnostic,” Madonna said. “It’s not a dogmatic religion. It’s kind of a philosophy. And if David decides he wants to be a Christian, then so be it.”
Madonna also revealed that David’s father, Yohane Banda, rejected her offer of financial help when they met in court for him to give his consent to the adoption. “He didn’t want that,” Madonna said. “I said I would be happy to facilitate with you, you know, to bring him back to your village and help you financially raise him. And he said no.”
Because of translation problems, Madonna said she didn’t fully understand Banda’s decision, but she accepted it nonetheless.
“I don’t want to judge him,” she said. “I don’t know his life. I believe he remarried and had moved on to another village and was kind of getting on with his life. And I think he truly felt in his heart of hearts that … [David] would have a better life with me. So when he said no, that was my sign that it was my responsibility to look after him.”
Now adjusting to life in London, David has a “terrible temper” and is “very flirtatious” and “hysterically funny,” the singer said. “Obviously he’s going to come with his own baggage, and you know, his own DNA, and I look forward to being surprised by what he’s going to offer the world and how he’s going to turn out.”
Madonna’s interview airs on “Today” on Wednesday and Thursday at 7 a.m. ET. The “Dateline NBC” interview airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.