Madonna has released a graphically violent video for her new single God Control, which depicts a mass shooting heavily reminiscent the one in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead and 53 injured in June 2016.
She makes a stark call for gun control, both in the song’s lyrics and in a written statement at the end the video, which reads: “Every year over 36,000 Americans are killed in acts gun violence and approximately 100,000 more are shot and injured. No one is safe. Gun control. Now.”
She also quotes civil rights activist Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
The video features a tearful Madonna typing the song’s lyrics: “When they talk reforms, it makes me laugh / They pretend to help, it makes me laugh … They say that we need love / But we need more than this.” The scenes are intercut with her imagining herself at a nightclub, beginning with the gun attack and rewinding through the evening, including a scene her being mugged at gunpoint on the way to the club.
The nightclub scenes are disturbing and bloody, depicting a gunman opening fire with an automatic rifle, and striking the attendees.
Until the October 2017 shooting at a Las Vegas music festival which killed 58, the Pulse terror attack was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. The gunman, Omar Mateen, was shot and killed by police during the attack – he had described himself as an “Islamic soldier” and pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
In a separate statement, Madonna said: “I want to draw attention through my platform as an artist to a problem in America that is out control and is taking the lives innocent people. This crisis can end if our legislators act to change the laws that fail to protect us all.”
In a recent interview, Madonna said: “When you think about the amount people who have died, been killed, have been wounded, whose lives have been changed irrevocably because the lack gun control in America, it’s such a huge, huge problem.” In the same interview she also championed LGBT rights and criticised recent US restrictions on abortion, saying: “We fought really hard for a lot these freedoms and now it seems like they are all systematically being taken away … It doesn’t make me feel hopeless. It just makes me want to fight back.”
God Control is directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who has made numerous videos with the singer beginning with Ray Light in 1998. He has also frequently worked with Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and David Guetta.