I have always believed love conquers all – yesterday I got to see it in action.
In the last week over 30,000 of you added your name to mine calling for the release of Steven Monjeza, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga – the Malawi couple sentenced to 14 years hard labor for the “crime” of homosexuality.
With incredible joy I am writing to share with you that yesterday, Malawi President, Bingu wa Mutharika has ordered their release. Steven and Tiwonge were freed on Saturday night. They have won their freedom and you have been a part of it.
I would love to hear your reaction to this news. Share your thoughts now: http://www.raisingmalawi.org/lovewins
We celebrate this astounding turn of events with Steven, Tiwonge, and the countless Malawians fighting for their release. It is a historic day for Malawi.
Though they are free from prison, sadly their safety and future in Malawi is still unknown. I hope this is just the beginning of our work together.
Human rights injustices continue for so many Malawians facing poverty, disease, and a lack of critical resources. There are still over two million orphans and vulnerable children who need to experience love’s embrace.
It is going to take the love and creativity all of us to bring justice to the people of Malawi.
That’s why I would like to hear from you. Tell me your thoughts on this important day in Malawi: http://www.raisingmalawi.org/lovewins
Thank you for joining me in Raising Malawi.
With great love,
from Showstudio live chat
Warhol is such a big influence in your work, and Madonna is as well. How is it having a personal relationship with her now? After all she did know Warhol, and I think we can state he’s your biggest influence. Meeting you for 1 minute was so surreal (you gave me an autograph after a concert.) I can’t even imagine having a personal relationship with someone I adore so much. How do you feel when someone not only so iconic, but also such a big personal influence, is suddenly an accessible person? – Asked by Laurent James, Antwerp, Belgium.
Madonna is a wonderful wonderful person. She is so full of the most wonderful freedom and spirit, and is so kind. Working with her has always been very exciting and very fun. We have shared some wonderful honest moments together. She comes to my shows, I’ve asked her questions, she give me advice. It’s been my experience in the industry that I’ve connected on a much deeper level with the more iconic and legendary people that I have admired, and not with any of my contemporaries. The one things the legends all; have in common are that they are the nicest human beings I have ever met. As a segue-way from knowing, and meeting and loving Madonna it has allowed me to meet amazing, wonderful iconic people. By meeting these people, I have discovered myself. My freedom. My security. Myself.
Thanks to John
A gay couple sentenced to serve 14 years in jail in Malawi have been pardoned after their country’s president met Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general.
Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were tried and found guilty of sodomy and indecency earlier this month in a move that sparked international condemnation.
But after talking with Ban today, Malawi’s president, Bingu wa Mutharika, announced the pair would be freed.
“These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws,” he said after the meeting, at the southern African country’s State House. “However, as the head of state, I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for their immediate release with no conditions.
“I have done this on humanitarian grounds, but this does not mean that I support this.”
He added: “We don’t condone marriages of this nature. It’s unheard of in Malawi and it’s illegal.”
Ban praised the decision, but said: “It is unfortunate that laws criminalise people based on sexuality. Laws that criminalise sexuality should be repealed.”
He is due to address Malawi’s national assembly later and is expected to ask legislators to look at this.
High-profile figures who spoke out in support of them include the singer Elton John and the pop star Madonna, who adopted a child from Malawi. Amnesty International also called the sentences an “outrage”.
Did studying Eastern philosophy help keep you grounded when you were traveling with Madonna? I just imagine, being so young in this exciting, glamorous life…
It always did, and more and more as I developed and grew in that experience. I was touring with a major superstar when I was 21. I was completely lost in it. I wanted to be just like Madonna. I was always comparing myself to her: how can you not? She was my big, famous sister. I was trying to be as pretty as her, as glamorous as her, have nice clothes like her. Here I am, [thinking] I can never have those kinds of clothes: Dolce and Gabbana morning and night. Maybe some day, but not right now! I was constantly trying to compare myself. … But I learned. There was enough time in between working with her that I could go out, do my own thing and develop myself. Every time I came back to do a big tour, it was such a reflection to me of where I was at. Pretty soon, like the last time I toured in that capacity, I felt such incredible love for the audience: that oneness. I didn’t feel I was up on stage. I just realized that’s what it was all about – that’s what I wanted it to be about. I wasn’t into being on stage and being worshipped for myself – doing it as a character role is one thing. But having already gotten out there, my awareness had really changed a lot.
You weren’t on her last tour. Is that change in awareness why?
I think inside I knew it was coming, but I was also pregnant and having my baby. I remember thinking, “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” I remember in that moment, I already missed it: “I’m not going to be on another Madonna tour!” But she’s a person who moves on. She fills a space and moves on. She has a lot of people who work for her, and this is part of the natural experience. I can go down my path and do my thing. I keep it open: when you work with someone for so long you keep it open to work with them again. Maybe not in the same capacity: I’d love to do more benefits and big events, and support her in that way.
Guy Oseary via Twitter
There are over 1 thousand articles today on Madonna being a judge on idol. Again, she is NOT going to be a judge on idol.
…Like Madonna, Maya is not a trained musician but instead a brilliant editor, able to pick and choose and bend the talents of others to fit her goals. They share an enormous appetite and a discerning eye for the intertwined worlds of fashion, art and music.
“Madonna is the one,” Maya said. “Madonna did amazing songs. She had an amazing sense of style, without a stylist. And she was flawed, and sometimes she admitted it. I’ll fight the fight for Madonna. I think she should send me some chocolates or something to thank me.”
…Maya feels that Gaga is not original, that she mostly borrows from the Abba playbook, and she gets annoyed when Gaga is compared to Madonna. “You can’t really say that Gaga is culturally a change,” Maya said. “Madonna was truly unique.” Gavras nodded. “And Madonna was pretty,” he said. “Pop stars should be pretty.”
New York Times
Christina Aguilera has confirmed that her latest video features several deliberate references to Madonna.
The singer, who took to the stage with Madonna and Britney Spears for a notorious performance at the 2003 VMAs, used her ‘Not Myself Tonight’ clip to salute the pop queen’s legacy.
“One of my favourite videos ever is ‘Express Yourself’ by Madonna which came across as really strong and empowering which I always try to incorporate through my expression of sexuality,” Aguilera said.
“I love the direct reference I made to Madonna with the eye glass moment and the smoke and stairs. I was paying tribute to a very strong woman who has paved the way before.”
‘Not Myself Tonight’, the lead single from Aguilera’s upcoming album Bionic, is available to download now.