Madonna is back with a new album — Madame X — and an ever-present eye patch.
She wore it in her video for “Medellin” and while performing at the Billboard Music Awards and the Eurovision Song Contest last month. Now, as she promotes her 14th studio album, which debuted Friday, it remains the focal point of her look — even when she isn’t performing.
During an interview on Friday’s Today show, the eye patch was discussed in the most Madonna-like way ever.
Today’s Harry Smith: “You have a patch on your eye.”
Madonna: “OK. Yes, I do.”
Smith: “And there’s an X on it. Madame X.”
Madonna: “Yes, that’s correct. Really good observation, Harry.”
With playful banter out of the way, she went on to explain that the eye patch is part of the Madame X persona she created for the album.
"She's a spy. She's a secret agent. She travels the world. She changes her identity,” explained the Grammy winner. “She sleeps with one eye open. And she travels through the day with one eye shut. She's actually been wounded. So she's covering up one of her eyes.” (In Madonna’s New York Times profile — the one she hated — the writer was told, “It’s fashion, darling,” when she asked a member of the star’s team why she chose to wear it.)
Madonna also told Smith that the Madame X character was inspired by a nickname choreographer Martha Graham gave her when she was a student in Graham's class at age 19. She said Graham was frustrated that she could never "identify" who Madonna was. Madge said she felt “the same way” when she started recording this album. So once she connected the two feelings and decided on the album name, she then created “a story that was sort of the beginning of Madame X's journey.”
A preview of Madonna’s interview on Friday’s Graham Norton Show shows her with the patch on there as well — and expect more banter about it. After all, when Madonna made her Eurovision appearance, Norton hosted and, upon seeing her with her patch, quipped, "Madonna, what a trooper, still showing up despite a nasty case of conjunctivitis.”
And Norton isn’t the only one. The internet is full of comments about Madonna’s patch — and most aren’t so flattering.
Madonna, for the love of all things holy, please take off the freaking eye patch already.— Isy with one 's' (@yodaberg) June 13, 2019
The eye patch tho. Not liking it.— Truthfully Trisha (@TruTrisha) June 14, 2019
Has Madonna turned into a pirate.— Simon Bartles (@SimonBartles) June 14, 2019
So Madonna has reinvented herself as Madam X and is wearing an eye patch. How about she reinvents herself into a ghost and goes away! 🙄— southerndawgs89 (@southerndawgs89) June 14, 2019
That patch has to go 😪— Sam Ball (@sball1979) June 14, 2019
Whatever happened to Baby Jane? I know! She’s wearing an eye patch oblivious to her irrelevance. Isn’t that right, Madonna Jane? 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/Sc8mTCNHf2— Sue Bravo (@SueBravo6) June 14, 2019
And beyond just the gimmicky nature of it, some were truly offended. One woman talked about how her husband “lost his eye in a tragic accident” recently and said, “Have some compassion.” And a grandmother said that her grandson has to wear one on his eye daily “and not just to make a music video.”
The eye patch is extremely offensive. My husband lost his eye in a tragic accident in December. Have some compassion.— Kathleen Iacobucci (@KrazyKathhhh) June 14, 2019
Well - I guess it gets attention. My grandson has to wear a patch for his eye daily - and not just to make a music video. ????— 🌻mainepatty (@mainepatty) June 14, 2019
Appropriating an eye patch?— Karen Mit (@slominskam) June 14, 2019
To be fair, Madonna fashion choices have been making buzz alongside her music for years. The cone bras. The “boy toy” belt. The grills, crosses and crowns.
And say what you want about the patch, but Madonna is feeling good about Madame X’s debut. She wrote on Instagram that it debuted at the No. 1 spot in 58 countries today. It didn’t mention — and we’ll add — it has a lot to do with it being part of a bundle. People who bought tickets to her upcoming Madame X Tour, which kicks off in NYC in September, also received a copy of her album.
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