Madame X is a secret spy that travels the world, and her most recent top-secret mission took her to Times Square in New York, then over to Barclays Center in Brooklyn where she presided over the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.
Pop icon Madonna is no stranger to the VMAs stage, having racked up an incredible 20 moon person trophies throughout the course of her career, including a 1986 Video Vanguard Award, which she received as the first female recipient of the award in the show’s history.
Madonna has returned to the event for the first time since her Aretha Franklin tribute on the 2018 telecast, this time as Madame X, her super-spy alter ego, which she created for her most recent studio album and will revive for her Madame X documentary film, which will premiere on Paramount+ on October 8th.
Only the queen of pop, and an artist synonymous with New York, could kick off the VMAs as the annual awards show makes its triumphant live return to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Madonna rides in the back of a taxi cab in a voiceover, recalling arriving in New York 40 years ago, instructing the cab driver to drop her down in Times Square with “$35 and a pair of dance shoes.”Stepping out of the taxi, dressed in a Burberry trench coat and a pair of Louboutins, she is surrounded by large video screens projecting some of her most famous music videos. She was then taken from Manhattan to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, where she took the stage to kick off this year’s festivities, celebrating MTV by telling the audience: “And they say we wouldn’t last, but we’re still here motherfuckers.”
Madonna is a master at crafting memorable VMAs moments, from her “Like a Virgin” stage roll to her Rococo-inspired “Vogue” dance sequence and kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera in 2003 — and her 2021 appearance was no exception.
Madonna’s Madame X tour documentary will premiere on Paramount+ on Friday, October 8.