Madonna has never been one to hold back. Over the course of her four-decade-long career, she’s delivered pop perfection, and she’s ruffled some feathers along the way.
In 1989, Madonna released “Like A Prayer,” the lead single and title track from her fourth studio album. While the song remains one of her signature hits, its accompanying video was the subject of controversy at the time of its release.
The video features Madonna seeking refuge in a church after witnessing an assault and murder, and kissing a statue of a saint that turns into a human man. There was also a Madonna Pepsi commercial that aired a few times on television at the time, but Pepsi quickly pulled the ad amid backlash surrounding the music video.
The commercial finally aired again last night (September 12) during the MTV Video Music Awards, as part of Pepsi’s new campaign, “celebrating 40 years of disrupting the status quo.”
34 years ago I made a commercial with Pepsi to celebrate the release of my song Like a Prayer.
The commercial was immediately canceled when I refused to change any scenes in the video where I was kissing a black saint or burning crosses.
So began my illustrious career as an… pic.twitter.com/zHBaBtGP9v
— Madonna (@Madonna) September 13, 2023
After the awards ceremony, Madonna took to Twitter to thank Pepsi for sharing the commercial again, despite keeping it in the vault for 34 years.
“34 years ago I made a commercial with Pepsi to celebrate the release of my song ‘Like a Prayer,’ said Madonna. “The commercial was immediately canceled when I refused to change any scenes in the video where I was kissing a black saint or burning crosses. So began my illustrious career as an artist refusing to compromise my artistic integrity. Thank you @pepsi for finally realizing the genius of our collaboration. [smiling emoji] Artists are here to disturb the peace.”
You can see the clip above.
Madonna is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.