Madonna has returned with another track from her highly anticipated album, Madame X, out June 14. “Dark Ballet” lives up to its name, and the music video for the track is a fever dream of religious iconography, casting queer rapper Mykki Blanco as Joan of Arc. Blanco is the video’s star, with Madonna only appearing for a moment as a veiled figure watching as Joan of Arc is burnt at the stake.
The video opens with a quote attributed to Joan of Arc: “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”
The video also ends with a quote, this one from Blanco. “I have walked this earth, Black, Queer and HIV positive, but no transgression against me has been as powerful as the hope I hold within.”
According to Rolling Stone, the song and video Queen of Pop were inspired by Joan of Arc’s resilience. “She fought the English and she won, still the French were not happy. Still they judged her. They said she was a man, they said she was a lesbian, they said she was a witch, and, in the end, they burned her at the stake, and she feared nothing. I admire that.”
Madonna and Mykki Blanco first teased their collaboration when they appeared together at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. In the week since, Madame X has been on a rigorous promo tour which included a New York Times story, one she was not happy about, comparing it to being raped. “To say that I was disappointed in the article would be an understatement-
It seems. You cant fix society And its endless need to diminish,” she wrote on Instagram. “The journalist who wrote this article spent days and hours and months with me and was invited into a world which many people dont get to see, but chose to focus on trivial and superficial matters such as the ethnicity of my stand in or the fabric of my curtains and never ending comments about my age which would never have been mentioned had I been a MAN! Women have a really hard time being the champions of other women even if. they are posing as intellectual feminists.”
Madonna went on to say she was “sorry i spent 5 minutes with her. It makes me feel raped. And yes I’m allowed to use that analogy having been raped at the age of 19. Further proof that the venerable N.Y.T. Is one of the founding fathers of the Patriarchy. And I say—-DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY woven deep into the fabric of Society. I will never stop fighting to eradicate it.”
Madame X is out June 14.