Madonna is pushing back against social media criticism of her look at the 2023 Grammy Awards, calling the backlash “ageism and misogyny” that detracted from the historical importance of Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ moment.
“It was an honor for me to Introduce Kim Petras and Sam Smith at the Grammys,” Madonna wrote in a social media statement. She added that although she had initially wanted to present Album of the Year, she “thought it was more important that I present the first trans-woman performing at the Grammys — a history making moment!”
Smith, who is nonbinary, and Petras, a trans woman, won the award for Best Solo Pop Duo/Group Performance for their mega hit, “Unholy,” which they also performed. Madonna commented, “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!
“Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in,” the 64-year-old wrote. “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.”
Madonna continued, “I have 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. I have 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 concluded with the words, “Bow down bitches!” Check out the full statement below.
Madonna’s love for Smith and Petras is well reciprocated. During her acceptance speech, Petras thanked Madonna for decades of “fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.” And it’s not as if the fight is over. After their Grammy performance, Petras and Smith were targeted by conservatives like Ted Cruz, who called them “evil” and spread Satanic panic conspiracy theories.
For more Grammy coverage, check out the full list of winners and our live blog.
This summer, Madonna will embark on “The Celebration Tour” commemorating her 40 years in music. Tickets are available via Stubhub.