Lady Gaga praised the “inspiring” speech Madonna gave while accepting the award for Woman of the Year at Billboard’s Women In Music 2016 event on Friday.
@Madonna your speech at the Billboard Music Awards was inspiring. You're so brave & strong. Thanks for being that for us girls we need that.
— xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) December 12, 2016
During her speech, Madonna opened up about sexism in the music industry and the struggle of being a female entertainer. “Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse,” she said from the stage. The singer went on to talk about her life as a teenager in New York City, revealing she had been “held at gunpoint, raped on a rooftop with a knife digging into my throat and I had my apartment broken into and robbed so many times I stopped locking the door. In the years that followed, I lost almost every friend I had to AIDS or drugs or gunshots.”
Madonna continued, “In life there is no real safety except for self-belief.” The iconic singer also began tearing up when she talked about the time in her life when she felt “like the most hated person on the planet.” She noted, “I remember being the headline of every newspaper and magazine. Everything I read about myself was damning. I was called a whore and a witch. One headline compared me to Satan… This was the first time I truly understood women do not have the same freedom as men.”
Madonna closed her speech by offering advice to other female musicians, saying, “Women have been so oppressed for so long they believe what men have to say about them. They believe they have to back a man to get the job done… As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other’s worth. Seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to collaborate with, to be inspired by, to support, and enlightened by.”
The singer’s message was heard loud and clear by Gaga, who on Monday tweeted, “@Madonna your speech at the Billboard Music Awards was inspiring. You’re so brave & strong. Thanks for being that for us girls we need that.”
By Andrew Shuster