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Great moments in (my) pop culture history: Madonna does Vogue @ the VMAs.

June 1, 2010

It was September 6, 1990. I was 17 and had slowly been coming out to important people in my life. And, like any self-respecting fag at that point in time, I had some big love for Madonna. It’s harder and harder for me to remember the Madonna I used to adore when I see the joyless, overly-serious, Madonna that exists now. Back then, while she was already starting to take herself far too seriously for a pop star, she was fun and sexy and controversial in a way that was somewhat fresh, even if it a lot of that controversy came from her mining the work of gays and people of color for her ideas.

One such example of this was her stellar track, “Vogue”, a paean to “vogueing” – a style of dance popular in the gay underground ballroom scene, especially with gay men of color. When Madonna and her Blonde Ambition tour crew performed the song at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, they were all dolled up in costumes reminiscent of the 1988 film Dangerous Liasons and they pretty much blew the roof off of the motherfucker – even with everyone involved lip-syncing. The costumes were fierce, the dancing was fantastic and the gay camp factor was through the roof. And so was I. If I knew then that 20 years later I’d live in a world where I could actually experience some varied and nuanced representations of gays in the media, I might not have been so enamored. But here was Madonna and a bunch of gay dudes being fabulous on the TV in my living room and hundreds of thousands of living rooms all over the world. I may have been slowly gravitating away from the pop music of my youth toward the college rock/alternative/punk of my early adulthood, but this performance rocked my world nevertheless. And it still holds up today as one pretty badass pop culture moment. Lady Gaga only wishes she’d thought of this first. Now feast your eyes on the magic.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. insidegaetano permalink
    June 1, 2010 8:23 am

    Love this ^^

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