Madonna is known for her blatant
style- and taboo breaks. With the release of the lead single 'Like A Prayer'
for the album of the same name, she came with really heavy guns: a 180 ° image
turn-around from the blonde beast to a meekly brunette ... her music changed
into an exalted, hymn-like and danceable sound with religious-controversial
and provocative texts.
But the big bone of contention was the music
video, directed by
Mary Lambert. It portrays Madonna as a witness to the murder of a girl by
white supremacists. While a black man is arrested for the murder, Madonna
hides in a church for safety seeking strength to go forth as a witness. The
clip depicts a church and Catholic symbols such as stigmata.
It also features a Ku
cross burning, and a dream about kissing a black saint. The Vatican
condemned the video, while family and religious groups protested against its
broadcast. They boycotted products by soft drink manufacturer Pepsi, who had
used the song in their commercial. The company canceled their sponsorship
contract with Madonna, but allowed her to retain the fee.
'Like A Prayer' became, not least because of this rather unintentionally publicity through
the condemnation of parent associations and church representatives, the
world's biggest hit in 1989.