Madonna Released Her Video For “American Life” That Was Shelved In 2003 For Being Too Controversial 

April 28, 2023 / Posted by:

As Madonna gears up for her ambitious 35-city Celebration tour set to kick off in July, many fans are skeptical that she’ll actually make it happen, which could’ve been exacerbated by the shelving of her last ambitious project–her biopic. But, maybe Madonna is trying to convey to the doubters that she delivers (albeit late, which is better than never); because she just released her controversial 2003 “American Life” video on her YouTube channel this week. Back then, she decided against releasing the graphic, militaristic war-themed video due to the dawning of the Iraq War; but now that it’s twenty years later and it doesn’t look like war or violence is going anywhere and she has a tour to hype up, she decided it was high time to give us vintage Madonna face in remastered 4K.

According to Unilad, “American Life” was set to become the “most notorious video of her career,” which is saying a lot coming from the woman who had a video where she kisses Black Jesus and dances in front of burning crosses that had many racists and prudes clutching their rosaries back in the day. Though the now 64-year-old Madonna hadn’t been known to ever back down from the firing squad when it came to being controversial, “American Life” was one of those times.

The clip, a graphic commentary on the then-imminent US invasion of Iraq, was officially nixed on April 1, 2003.

“I have decided not to release my new video,” she said at the time, as per MadonnaTribe.

“It was filmed before the war started and I do not believe it is appropriate to air it at this time. Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video.”

While the song was an introspective look at her own experience with fame and fortune, the graphic commentary on America’s involvement in the Middle East was shelved.

It showed the singer on stage at a fashion show as people were being blown apart by explosives and the audience seemingly taking delight in the violence.

Here’s the video, which ends with actual graphic footage of bombing, maiming, and war casualties:

And here’s the tame replacement video that aired, where the most questionable issue is her rapping:

Ah, 2003, the good old days; back when Madonna’s newest piece was a wee grade-schooler, and the loudest complainers were more offended by footage of death and destruction appearing in a music video than they are now in 2023 with the actual death and destruction appearing every day in American schools. It’ll be interesting to see what (if any) controversial bits Madonna weaves into her tour, but at the very least, there’s a high likelihood of cone bra!

Pic: YouTube

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