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Friday
Jun072019

Madonna's disturbing "Dark Ballet" video puts a new spin on the story of Joan of Arc

Live Nation/Interscope Records/ Maverick"Dark Ballet," the final song released from Madonna's Madame X album ahead of its release, finds the Queen of Pop retelling the story of St. Joan of Arc, who was executed in the year 1431.

"She fought the English and she won, still the French were not happy," Madonna says of St. Joan 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."

The song starts as a midtempo ballad where Madonna sings about a world "obsessed with fame," going "up in flames."  Then comes some classical-sounding ballet music, over which Madonna's electronically-distorted voice sings an imagined version of Joan of Arc's final words.

"I will not denounce the things that I have said/I will not renounce my faith....you can cut my hair and throw me in a jail cell/Say that I'm a witch and burn me at the stake...I won't give in."

Next comes a spoken-word portion, where Madonna recites, "They are so naive/They think we are not aware of their crimes/We know, but we are just not ready to act/The storm isn't in the air, it's inside of us."

The cinematic video for the track stars queer hip hop artist Mykki Blanco as Joan of Arc, picutred in a jail cell, being burned at the stake, and dancing while surrounded by jeering religious figures. Madonna appears briefly, shrouded by a thick veil.

The video ends with a quote 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."

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