‘She’ll always be my older sister’: Convict who grew up with Madonna

Posing on the Lower East Side rooftop with his posse and their kooky pal, a diminutive Pied Piper figure known as Flaca, tough 14-year-old street kid Lamont Clarke tried to stare down the camera.

Clarke, 44, recognized his 14-year-old self in a recent Post article about Madonna’s early life in New York — he and his pals saw her as a big sister.

It was the spring of 1983, and Flaca, an up-and-coming actress, dancer and singer whose nickname was the Spanish word for skinny, had asked the teenage crew to join in a photo session at her building.

Just a few months after the shoot, she would be known all over the world as Madonna.
“You guys are my family,” she affectionately told the gang. “Did you think I’d leave you out?”

As far as the streetwise teens were concerned, Flaca was their fun older sister — a bubbly confidante who played guitar on the sidewalk and grooved to the music that blared from her beloved boombox.

They knew she had talent, but never imagined she’d become an international superstar.

Three decades on, the early portraits of the pop diva have resurfaced in photographer Richard Corman’s book “Madonna NYC 83” and were featured in a recent exhibition.

But it was only after The Post published an article about Corman’s work that Clarke, now serving a prolonged prison term for robbery, saw himself in the pictures and recalled the shoot.

(Read a letter from Clarke to Madonna.)

“I’m a humble guy and never told no one that I knew Madonna,” Clarke, 44, told The Post in an exclusive jailhouse interview at the Eastern Correctional Facility upstate in Napanoch, NY.

Madonna (in an early publicity shot) lived on the fifth floor of this tenement building at 232 E. Fourth St., where she hung out with Clarke before hitting it big.

“But fellas kept coming to me with the paper and asking if one of those kids was me. I couldn’t lie and told them the truth.”

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Madonna drops in on Detroit Achievement Academy

Proclaiming a “revolution of love” and vowing a Detroit comeback, Madonna spent time with students at a local charter school during a quiet homecoming visit today.

Details are elusive, but the Michigan-bred pop star posted a pair of photos this afternoon on her Instagram page marking her trip to Detroit Achievement Academy.

“Discussing Michael Jackson vs. Pharrell Williams!” reads the text accompanying a shot of Madonna crouched on a colorful mat, talking with several young students. “Watch out! Detroit is coming back !!!!!”

Detroit Achievement Academy, founded by organic-apparel entrepreneur Kyle Smitley, opened last fall in the Rosedale Park and Grantmont neighborhoods on the city’s northwest side. The school has drawn national attention for its aim to provide a free, “world-class education.”


The academy, funded by private donations, caters to kindergarteners and first graders.

“Sharing stories with kids at the Detroit Achievement Academy!” reads the caption on the second Madonna photo. “Very impressed by Kyle Smitley and her team doing what they can to bring education back to the Motor City!”

“Today was … iconic,” the academy posted on its Facebook page this afternoon. “We are all so smitten over Madonna’s visit.”

School founder Kyle Smitley declined to share more information about Madonna’s visit, but said the pop star’s camp was likely to release details.

The Free Press has reached out to Madonna’s publicity team for comment.

(@DetroitFreePress / https://www.freep.com)

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National Front calls Madonna ‘Granny Gaga’

American pop star Madonna lamented the massive European Parliament victory of the far-right National Front and got called ‘Granny Gaga’ by the anti-immigrant, anti-EU party in return.

France’s National Front on Tuesday branded Madonna a “Granny Gaga” after the global pop icon became embroiled in a new row with the resurgent far right party.

Madonna had enraged the FN in 2012 by showing a video depicting its leader Marine Le Pen with a swastika over her forehead at a Paris concert.

She took another swipe at the party on Monday with a post on her Instagram account.

The post featured the front page of French newspaper Liberation from May 26, the day after the FN topped the polls in European elections with a record 25 percent of the vote.

The page shows a triumphant Le Pen celebrating the victory next to the headline, “FN France”.

Madonna’s caption read: “Russia. Ukraine. Venezuela …., now France?!!!!! #fight Fascism #fightdiscrimination #fightlynchmobmentality #fighthatred#fightforffreedom #revolutionoflove

FN vice-president Florian Phillipot responded with a sarcastic suggestion Madonna was seeking controversy to court publicity at a time when her career has been eclipsed by the global stardom of younger rival Lady Gaga.

“In politics too, Granny Gaga has lost the plot,” Philippot tweeted.

The Local

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