After 20 years, Madonna has finally released the original music video for “American Life”. The video was intended to be a commentary on the then-ongoing American invasion of Iraq, mixing haute-couture with the brutality of war. The five-minute video starts out with models walking down a runway in army costumes as Madonna sang about life in the spotlight. However, the models were then joined by victims of war, who they started beating as blood spewed onto the runway. The audience of snooty-looking fashion-goers laughed as the violence continued — even as bloodied bodies were dragged across the stage without their limbs. Pictures of real victims of war started flashing across the screen before Madonna burst from backstage in a tank ultimately killing the crowd with a grenade.
At the time, Madonna faced backlash before the video even aired and decided to release a highly censored version instead. She explained that the original version “was filmed before the war started” and didn’t think it would be “appropriate to air” — despite already airing abroad.
The recent upload appears to have left out a couple of controversial moments such as a George W. Bush lookalike catching a grenade and lighting his cigarette with it at the end. Madonna is set to begin “The Celebration Tour”, which commemorates her four decades in music, this summer. It remains to be seen what crazy costumes and provocative performances she has in store for the 53 shows.