New York gays kicked off 2019 in epic fashion when Madonna made a surprise appearance at the landmark Stonewall Inn. The pop icon graced fans with an impromptu New Year's Eve performance of "Like a Prayer" with a speech commemorating 50 years since the Stonewall riots.
"I stand here proudly at the place where Pride began," she read from her rainbow cards to the crowd. "Let us never forget the Stonewall riots and those who bravely stood up and said 'enough.' We come together tonight to celebrate 50 years of revolution, 50 years of freedom-fighting. We all bleed the same color, and we all need to love and be loved. I walk in the shadow of giants, of freedom fighters who have come before me, but let's be giants ourselves and carry each other on our shoulders into a new year and into a future of love and understanding."
The rebellion against police attempting to enforce homophobic laws waged for several days outside the West Village gay bar in 1969 and the event is largely credited with jump-starting the modern LGBTQ rights movement. This year's World Pride will take place in New York City, celebrating 50 years since the riots. Madonna recently signed on as a Stonewall Ambassador, a program launched by Pride Live to raise awareness of Stonewall's historical significance.
The Advocate was on the ground at Stonewall where the crowd broke out into song with the gay icon. Their exclusive video shows her empowering speech and the celebration that ensued for a New Year's Eve party that was gay in every sense of the word.