In an age where social media, reality TV shows, and music documentary movies feel ubiquitous in providing fans with intimate access to their idols, it’s easy to forget that celebrity personas were previously much more private. So when Madonna’s Truth Or Dare documentary movie (also known as In Bed With Madonna) was released in 1991, it felt truly revolutionary and fresh. Once upon a time, fans only had interviews, newspaper gossip, and magazine profiles to rely on in gaining insight on their favorite stars, and often these impressions still felt stilted, and pre-programmed. But, chroniclingMadonna’s seminal Blond Ambition tour, the movie provided an intimate glimpse at the pop star and her life. The movie pulled back the curtain of celebrity to reveal both Madonna, the artist, and Madonna Louise Ciccone, the person.

25 years on from the movie’s release, which saw it gaining a cult-status amongst fans and the queer community, the film remains deeply inspiring, and its legacy can be felt right across pop culture. The movie managed to make an impact, not just in transgressing the boundaries between a celebrity and their fans, but also in providing a crucial reminder of how pop music, and feminist and queer rights, have developed since the early ’90s.

In 1990, when Truth Or Dare was filmed, the Blond Ambition tour was deeply controversial. Not only did the tour feature a scene of simulated female masturbation within a dance routine, but it also juxtaposed highly sexual choreography with Catholic imagery. By the time the tour reached Italy, the performance had become a scandal within the press, with the Pope even trying to get it banned. Two shows were cancelled among the tumult, andMadonna was even threatened with arrest in Toronto when law enforcement objected to the content of her dance routine for “Like A Virgin.”

This seems rightfully shocking to us in 2016, particularly when we have artists like Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, and the electro-pop artist Peaches using hyper-sexual imagery and choreography within their live shows and music videos. But, at the start of the ’90s, it was still deemed deeply inappropriate, criminaleven, for a female musician to proudly own her sexuality and to portray an expression of it on stage or in their videos.


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