You can't spell Madonna without "controversy." OK, maybe you can, but the legendary pop singer has made headlines for nearly four decades thanks to her proclivity for outrageous behavior.
The recently wrapped European leg of the MDNA tour was no exception . From images of swastikas that angered a French politician, to a series of breast- and bum-flashing incidents, a lawsuit over her support of LGBT rights in Russia and a tempest in a teacup over her brief Paris club show for fans, the outing made almost daily headlines.
One of the concert's centerpieces, a segment during which the singer and her dancers brandished handguns and semi-automatic weapons, also raised eyebrows. Specifically, following the deadly shooting rampage at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, critics lambasted Madonna for not taking the gunplay out of her set.
On Monday, the star posted a manifesto entitled, "The MDNA Tour -- In Madonna's Words," in which she explained the use of weapons onstage.
Is a journey
The journey of a soul from darkness to light
It is part cinematic musical theatre.
Part spectacle and sometimes intimate Performance art.
But above all its a journey
From darkness to light
From anger to love from chaos to order. "
"But above all its a journey From darkness to light From anger to love from chaos to order.
"It's true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns - but they are used as metaphors. I do not condone violence or the use of guns. Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging. In my case its wanting to stop the lies and hypocrisy of the church, the intolerance of many narrow minded cultures and societies I have experienced throughout my life and in some cases the pain I have felt from having my heart broken.
"Ultimately as we follow through the journey of my story, the audience can see quite clearly what I see - That the enemy is within and the only way to survive Disappointment Disapproval Judgment Heartbreak Jealousy Envy And Hatred Is with Love - not with revenge - not with guns and not with violence.
She continued by saying that in films, there are typically good guys and bad guys that help illustrate her point and in her case, she sometimes plays both roles. "I enjoy acting out this journey. For none of us are perfect and we all have our own journey of growth to go on," she wrote.
Confident that her fans can relate to this idea, Madonna said it was "very important" for her as an artist that her show not be taken out of context.
"It must be watched with an open heart from beginning to end," she wrote. "I am sure if it is viewed this way, the viewer will walk away feeling inspired, Invigorated and will want to make the world a better place. And this of course was always my intention."
What do you think of Madonna's defense of her gun use onstage? Let us know in comments below.